What Does Being LGBT (Or Wanting to Get Gay Married) Have to Do with Gambling?

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Like GLAAD promoting a telecom merger, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has wound up in the dubious position of weighing in on gambling, a not terribly LGBT-specific issue.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed has been beating down the path of a fascinating story over this past week, exploring how and why the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force has gotten involved with the issue of gambling in Maryland. His latest post reports that an anonymous source funded a gaming mailer sent to Maryland Democrats on behalf of the task force's lobbying arm.

We feel like we've been to this rodeo before. In our Voice Pride Issue feature, we asked, "What does a telecom merger have to do with fighting gay defamation?" as we reflected upon how and why the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) supported a proposed AT&T merge with T-Mobile. And now, we must ask, what does being LGBT have to do with gambling in Maryland?

According to Geidner's reporting, the task force has swept this one in (as many causes have been by nonprofits and corporations alike) under the auspices of the fight for same-sex marriage.

Geidner writes (emphasis added):

Noting in a statement that the Task Force has "been involved in the efforts to secure marriage equality in Maryland," Task Force deputy executive director Darlene Nipper echoed an earlier response provided by the organization's communications director, saying, "This mailer, which was funded by the Task Force Action Fund, is part of the effort to get marriage equality over the finish line in Maryland by advocating that an uncluttered ballot provides for the best chance for securing marriage equality this November."

An "uncluttered ballot" makes for the best chance to keep Maryland voters from overturning that state's Civil Marriage Protection Act (which will provide marriage equality to all Marylanders, unless a voter referendum against it passes this fall)? Does the task force think voters will confuse "gambling" and "gay marriage" since they both start with the letter "G"? Because both represent a certain concept of sin? And therefore might both garner "no" votes?

As we told the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association last week, we are in the midst of exciting days when the LGBT community as a whole is gaining more access to money, power, and influence. Fascinating political alliances, good and questionable, will be springing up all the time. Our hat is off to Geidner for this thorough investigation of what appears to be some kind of alliance worth exploring between a major national LGBT organization and the gaming industry in Maryland. (You can watch our previous Voice video interviews with Geidner here.)

We have left voicemails for task force spokeswoman Inga Sarda-Sorensen, as well as e-mailed her questions of our own, and will update if we hear back. Given our track record with alleged press reps for other Gay Inc. groups, we won't hold our breath. We'll just bide our time watching John Goodman's pro-gay marriage Colonel Sanders, who explains better than just about anyone the absurdity of how LGBT rights (especially marriage) get interrelated with unrelated things.


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You can follow staff writer Steven Thrasher on twitter (@steven_thrasher) or reach him by email (sthrasher@villagevoice.com).


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