When the first gay and lesbian couples legally allowed to marry in Baltimore began preparing for their big moment at City Hall in the first minutes of 2013, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was there to officiate.
She'd campaigned to help make same-sex marriages legal in Maryland, and seemed genuinely happy that night to help them happen in Baltimore.
In June, Rawlings-Blake was named Grand Marshal of Baltimore Pride, and then, this weekend, she was given an "ICONS We Love" award as part of Baltimore Black Pride.
Rawlings-Blake is no stranger to Baltimore's LGBT community acknowledging her status as an ally. I wanted to know what she had to say about it.
She sent me the following statement about her most recent award:
"As an avid supporter of the LGBT community and a champion for equal rights for all, I am extremely honored to have received the ICON award during Baltimore Black Pride's 11th Annual Gala and 'ICONS We Love' Award ceremony. It's extremely humbling to be the first and only elected official to receive this distinction.
I was beyond elated to officiate the City's first official same-sex marriages at midnight on New Year's Day in City Hall. It was a beautiful experience that gave me a sense of pride in knowing that same sex couples were able to express their love the same as everyone else. This was an historic moment in Baltimore's history and I will always cherish the opportunity to have been there. Having received the ICON award is another.
Equality for all was instilled in me from a very young age. It is an innate part of me that has made me the person I am today. I believe that we are all affected by the denial of any person's rights based on race, creed, ethnicity, gender identification and expression, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, religious beliefs, or national origins. Therefore, we must do all that we can to combat hate. As mayor, I pledge to continue to be a vocal advocate for Baltimore's LGBT community, promoting love for all.
I applaud the LGBT community for their perseverance and strength to withstand the challenges they face on a daily basis. The LGBT community inspires and gives me hope in knowing that our society can overcome fear and bigotry with love, compassion and understanding.
I know at the end of the rainbow, there is something more valuable than gold and that is love for all."
What do you think of Rawlings-Blake's advocacy for the LGBT community?