The nation's largest organization for conservative-minded members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has launched a new chapter in Maryland.
The formation of the Log Cabin Republicans of Maryland comes on the heels of Gov. Larry Hogan's election as the state's second Republican governor in a half century -- a historic victory the chapter's new president pointed to in a statement about the launch.
"Marylanders can breathe easier with a new Governor dedicated not only to the financial health of the state, but also to the rights and freedoms of all Maryland families," said Michael Esteve. "We're excited to work with Governor Hogan as he advances a pro-equality, fiscally sound agenda designed to benefit Marylanders of all stripes."
The national Log Cabin Republicans organization announced it had chartered the new Maryland chapter and three others -- in Northeast Florida, South Carolina and San Antonio -- on Monday, though the Maryland chapter has been posting to its official Facebook page since last month.
The national organization now has 46 chapters in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement that the new chapters "position our organization well heading into 2016," including in Maryland, which he called "a blue state with a newly minted Republican governor."
The new Maryland chapter could serve an important role in framing LGBT issues in Maryland during Hogan's administration, which in its first weeks in power has already faced criticism from other LGBT organizations.
Hogan angered some LGBT advocates after leaving gender identity out of a list of protected categories in his first executive order, which he later reissued with the language included. He also riled advocates by temporarily delaying the implementation of a regulation banning Medicaid providers in the state from discriminating against patients based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Log Cabin Republicans of Maryland chapter has already defended Hogan on its Facebook page, calling criticisms of his regulation delay "dishonest politics."
Esteve was active in boosting conservative support for same-sex marriage in Maryland when the issue went to the ballot in 2012, and has been active in the state party for years.
Elsewhere in LGBT-related news:
- Secretary of State John Kerry will be appointing a special envoy to advocate for LGBT rights overseas, according to The Boston Globe.
- An evangelical church in Nashville has come out in support of same-sex marriage.
- British singer Sam Smith gets married in his new video, which he has dedicated to the LGBT community.