Light Brigade Maryland members prepare to display an illuminated message reading "Vote For 6 Marriage Equality" from the Md. 140 overpass in Westminster Saturday.
Light Brigade Maryland members prepare to display an illuminated message reading "Vote For 6 Marriage Equality" from the Md. 140 overpass in Westminster Saturday. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO , Carroll County Times)

The group of nearly 20 huddled in the Westminster Shopping Center attempting to put their light up letters in the correct order.

They had a message they needed to spell: "Vote for 6 Marriage Equality." And it's a message they're scrambling to get out as the Nov. 6 public vote on same-sex marriage in Maryland nears.

So, Light Brigade Maryland participants stood along the Md. 140 overpass over Md. 27 holding up their signs, which were made of plastic panels with Christmas lights stuck through the holes.

"We're trying to send the message that it's OK to vote for question 6," said Mark Patro, the Light Brigade Maryland's lead organizer. "There are supporters out in Carroll County."

Question 6 has spurred much contention in the state since its passage during this year's legislative session. Opponents say marriage is between a man and a woman and garnered the necessary 55,736 valid signatures to put the issue to a public vote.

Patro, who is also the president of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Baltimore, started Light Brigade Maryland at the end of August. He's traveled to various locations around the state and found local marriage equality activists to hold up the signs.

The group of advocates walked during Westminster's Fallfest parade, but Saturday was the first - and only - night they held the lit up signs in a visible location in the county.

"Not everybody is wiling to make phone calls or knock on doors," said June Horner, treasurer and steering committee member of Carroll County's PFLAG chapter, "but this is something that engages some folks and maybe, hopefully, it will make a difference. We're trying hard for visibility."

Joy Fisher was itching to light her "T" and "E" up standing in a parking space in front of the Westminster Food Lion.

"Are we lighting them now? I'm lighting them now, what the heck? I'm feeling it," she said.

Then she and the group paraded in a line to the overpass. She and her partner, Erin Snell, have been trying to get the word out in Carroll County through education.

It's been hard, Fisher said, because she's talked to many people who believe in civil unions, but not in same-sex marriage.

"[They] just can't go that final step," she said.

And it leaves her frustrated, she said.

"Why would my marriage have an impact on their life?" she asked. "I just can't wrap my head around it."

So she and Snell - who was holding the letter "F" - stood side-by-side along the overpass on a chilly Saturday night advocating for a cause they firmly believe in.

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