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Quick and Dirty

Many Happy (Homophobic) Returns

GLBT Activists Use Anti-Gay Delegate's Birthday to Raise Money

By Laura Laing | Posted 2/27/2008

Del. Don Dwyer (R-31st District) is another year older, and Equality Maryland is $7,500 richer. Equality Maryland raised the funds in honor of the anti-gay Anne Arundel County representative's 50th birthday. In an e-mail sent out to members on Feb. 11--Dwyer's birthday--the GLBT-rights organization promised to extend "birthday greetings of equality and fairness."

"We will send Delegate Dwyer . . . a birthday card letting him know how much money he helped us raise to defeat his efforts in the state legislature," the e-mail read, in part.

In five days, 108 people donated more than $7,500. On Feb. 19, Equality Maryland executive director Dan Furmansky hand-delivered a store-bought card to the delegate that read, "Despite our differences, we hope your family had a pleasant celebration of your 50th birthday." Everyone on the Equality Maryland staff signed the card.

The card also included an insert, which read in part, "Your fiery rhetoric galvanized our members to fight for our rights even harder," and included the names of those who made birthday donations.

Dwyer is not shy about his opposition to gay rights in Maryland. He not only opposes same-sex marriage but also proposed a state constitutional amendment banning the discussion of same-sex relationships in public-school classrooms. Two years ago, he attempted to impeach M. Brooke Murdoch, the Baltimore Circuit Court judge who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Maryland's same-sex marriage case. His introduction of a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage has become an annual tradition.

As for the card, "I'm sure he'll appreciate it for what it is," Furmansky says. Dwyer did not respond to requests for comment by press time. The money raised will go toward Equality Maryland's lobbying efforts.

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