It's no doubt a sign of the end when people start talking about honoring your "legacy" -- and we've apparently come to that point for Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Equality Maryland, the state's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, has announced O'Malley and his record on LGBT rights will be the toast of the group's annual "Signature Brunch" in November.
"Join us as we celebrate the progress we've made and to honor a longtime ally, Governor Martin O'Malley," the group said in an email to supporters. "His commitment to LGBT equality has helped make Maryland a place where we can all live and love!"
O'Malley, who leaves office at the end of his second term in January, was an early backer of transgender protections in Baltimore back when he was mayor, but only became a supporter of other LGBT rights during his time in the governor's mansion, including same-sex marriage.
When he announced in 2011 that he would be backing same-sex marriage in the state, it represented a 180-degree shift from five years prior, when he said he was "raised to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."
O'Malley, a lifelong Catholic, took heat for his shift on marriage from the Maryland Catholic Conference, which called it "regrettable." But he never backed off his new stance, supporting same-sex marriage through a later voter referendum in which Maryland voters upheld the new rights of gay and lesbian couples in the state.
In May, O'Malley signed a statewide transgender rights bill, which prohibits discrimination in employment and housing.
Equality Maryland is asking people to submit answers to the question, "How has your life and LGBT Maryland improved from Governor O'Malley?" to HonoringOMalley@equalitymaryland.org.
The group has also endorsed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Democratic candidate for governor, in November's race.
O'Malley's movement on LGBT issues has mirrored a broader shift at the national level, and his support for same-sex marriage and other issues aren't likely to distinguish him from his Democratic rivals were he to indeed launch a campaign for the presidency.
For more information about the Nov. 16 brunch, you can go here.
How do you think O'Malley's record on LGBT issues stacks up?
In other news:
- One of the four authors selected by Johns Hopkins University to speak as part of its second annual President's Reading Series is Alan Hollinghurst, who the school describes as "an English novelist, poet and short-story writer, best-known for his The Line of Beauty, which won the 2004 Man Booker Prize and tells the story of a young gay academic studying in London in the 1980s, as the AIDS crisis grows." More details are here.
- Supporters of same-sex marriage in the United States suffered their first major setback in quite some time, in Louisiana.
- Joan Rivers, you no doubt have heard, has died. Hilarious, yes, but also an early fighter for HIV/AIDS patients, according to this article. Rest in Peace.