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February 28, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage in Maryland and the Nation: UMBC Experts Discuss a Struggle for Rights

Dinah Winnick
Communications Manager
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Chelsea Haddaway
Communications Manager
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

On February 24, the Maryland senate voted to approve the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which, if passed into law, would recognize equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. This decision came just one day after President Obama announced that the justice department will no longer defend the constitutionality of the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as only between a man and woman.

Experts from the UMBC community are available to talk about this policy, the struggle for LGBTQ rights and the potential sociocultural effects of these decisions.

Jodi Kelber-Kaye, lecturer in gender and women’s studies, researches and teaches about historic and current struggles for LGBT equality, particularly in analysis of strategies and tactics employed by activist groups. She has published entries in “LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia” and is currently working on a project about the lesbian feminist movement in Baltimore in the 1970s. Additionally, Kelber-Kaye is an out lesbian raising two sons; has spoken publicly in favor of marriage equality to school groups, at area colleges and rallies; and has testified on this issue in the General Assembly. Contact her at or 410-455-6371 (o).

Laura Hussey, assistant professor of political science, is an expert on American morality and social welfare policy, public opinion on policy issues, state/local politics and how government agencies function. She’s recently examined political engagement among those who don’t define themselves as “liberal” or “conservative” and the effects of increasing partisanship. Hussey has provided insight for the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Public Television, WBAL-TV, Washington Examiner, Catonsville Times and Capital News Service, including 2010 election commentary. Contact her at or 410-455-6560 (o).

Ilsa L. Lottes, associate professor of sociology, is an expert on sexuality and human rights, marriage and the family and sexuality in cross-cultural perspective. She has studied the views of university students about sex roles and the effects of religion and political orientation on attitudes about sexuality and gender. Lottes is co-editor of “New Views on Sexual Health” and her most recent publications examine homonegativity and patterns of sexual attitudes in 32 European countries. Contact her at or 410-455-2087 (o).

Lisa Gray, assistant director of student life for cultural and spiritual diversity, collaborates with students, faculty and staff on campus-wide diversity program development, training and curriculum infusion. She is a founding member of the Maryland Black Family Alliance, an ally organization that lobbies, testifies and does community outreach in support of LGBT equality. Contact her at or 410-455-8478 (o).

Cell numbers available upon request.

Posted by dwinnick at February 28, 2011 10:41 AM