Monday, November 10, 2008

Frosh Raising Money for Muse

We don’t normally quote fundraiser announcements here, but this one is bound to raise some eyebrows in the GLBT community.

Governor Martin O’Malley
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown
Senate President Thomas. V. “Mike” Miller, Jr.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch
Senator Brian Frosh, Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair
Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson
Prince George’s County Council Chair Samuel H. Dean

Invite you to a breakfast honoring
Senator C. Anthony Muse

Wednesday, November 19th
7:30am-9:00am at
The Country Club at Woodmore
12320 Pleasant Prospect Road
Mitchellville, MD 20721

Sponsors: $1,000, Hosts: $500, Guests: $250

Checks should be made payable to:
Friends of C. Anthony Muse
1509 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

For more information or to RSVP please contact
410-727-0501 or

By authority of Friends of C. Anthony Muse
Sharon Brandon, Treasurer
So what’s the big deal? Political muckety-mucks always raise money for other muck-mucks. But in the eyes of the GLBT community, Senator Muse (D-26) is no ordinary muck.

Senator Muse is a swing vote on GLBT issues in the Senate’s Judiciary Proceedings Committee. But he mostly swings against them. In the 2007 session, Senator Muse helped kill a bill banning discrimination against transgendered people in committee despite promising to support it. Equality Maryland Executive Director Dan Furmansky told the Blade, “We had the vote count on the floor of the House and the floor of the Senate... We had the votes.” In 2008, Senator Muse refused to support marriage equality in committee, causing it to die without a floor vote. At the time, he told a Baltimore radio station, “Unequivocally, I stand for Christian marriage and have no intentions of tampering with that at all.”

Senator Muse is not the only Democrat who is uncomfortable with the notion of granting full civil rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, but his committee position gives him a unique opportunity to block these initiatives. And who is the Chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee? None other than Senator Brian Frosh (D-16), who is listed prominently as a co-sponsor of Senator Muse’s fundraiser.

Senator Frosh is considered one of the legislature’s most prominent progressives, especially on environmental and civil rights issues. But he is also interested in succeeding Big Daddy as the next Senate President. To do that, he needs support from Prince George’s County Senators like C. Anthony Muse.

One old Annapolis hand virtually yawned when I pointed this out. This individual told me, “It is common practice for committee chairs to attend and support the fundraisers of their committee members. I have even seen the Republicans publicize their Democratic chairs for fundraisers. There is nothing out of the ordinary for Annapolis. Maybe it should be but it is common in our culture.”

And so this is business as usual. That’s fine for the Lords of Annapolis. But how does any of this help gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people who are seeking their civil rights?

Update: Three different politicians have weighed in on this off-blog. None of them see a problem here. All say it would be very unusual for Senator Frosh, as Senator Muse's committee chair, to not co-sponsor the fundraiser. That shows how important protocol is in Annapolis.