|Dylan with Gov. O'Malley following marriage bill signing|
New Jersey-born and now Columbia resident Dylan Goldberg is a political junkie. He aspires to hold elected office and has his sights on being governor of Maryland some day. The straight, 21 year-old senior at the University of Maryland, College Park is also an outspoken advocate of marriage equality and is doing his best to see that the Civil Marriage Protection Act is upheld in next month’s referendum.
“Marylanders have the ability to make history in this country; we have the opportunity to come together as the first state in the union to give same-sex couples the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts,” Goldberg said. “I tell my family, friends and neighbors that I look forward to checking the box in favor of Question 6 on my ballot.”
He is often asked why he is supporting marriage equality. “It wasn't until the first time I was asked that question that I thought deeply about how my decision could impact others. It wasn't until the spring of 2012 when I was faced with fighting for equal rights for others, the same rights I am granted as a straight male,” he explained.
Late last year Dylan Goldberg was hired as an assistant in the Maryland General Assembly for the 2012 legislative session. “I had a front row seat to history. I met so many people, loving fathers, loving mothers and those who wanted to be able to love equally one day and heard their stories. I heard their pain and heard their hope for a better day. I stood with them at Lawyers Mall during the rallies, had their backs in the committee rooms during public hearings and sat with them in the balconies of the legislative chambers when HB 438 passed in the House then in the Senate a few days later.”
It was when the bill was passed, signed into law by Governor O'Malley and petitioned to referendum that Goldberg began to talk to friends and family to encourage them to stand with him and others to achieve marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Goldberg believes that his generation is in the majority on this issue and that this majority will grow. He had heard stories from his gay friends about their coming out, the discrimination, bullying, and family rejection they sometimes face.
“While compelling, it’s not those stories that have helped me to ‘arrive at this decision’ like so many people are doing at this moment in history,” Goldberg points out. “I've never had to arrive; I've always been here. I’ve been raised in a household where my brother and I were loved by two parents who instilled in us respect for others no matter who they are, who they love, what they believe in, or how they live their lives. It’s those stories, however, that only fuel my motivation to make sure that my friends and those who are total strangers to me are afforded the same rights my parents have and that I will have with my girlfriend if we ever decide to get married one day.”
He sees the significance of the work of allies throughout history and the effort to achieve marriage equality as yet another step along the road to social justice. “For a young nation, we have come a long way. There was a time when women and male allies fought for women's suffrage, a time when African-Americans and white allies fought for civil rights, and equal rights were won. Once more, we must come together as straight allies and stand alongside our friends to ensure that equal rights are given to all.”
Dylan Goldberg is taking this fight right up to Election Day. He will continue to phone bank and canvas and talk to his friends and neighbors. On November 6 we will learn if his efforts on behalf of marriage equality in Maryland were successful. Either way, Dylan will have given it his all.