Equality Maryland, the state's largest
gay rights group, might close up shop at the end of June.
Gay weeklies Metro
Weekly and the Washington
Blade are reporting that the group is in the red.
Interim director Lynne Bowman, who took
over the helm after former Executive Director Morgan Meneses-Sheets'
firing last month, told the Blade that she's back in Ohio and
is unsure when she will return to Maryland, but added that she hasn't
Board President Charles Butler put it
bluntly in comments to Metro Weekly, explaining that the group
needed to raise $20,000 to $25,000 to cover operating expenses, and
blamed Meneses-Sheeets for the group's financial crisis, claims the
former executive has denied.
“Butler also placed blame for some
measure of the organization's fiscal woes on former Executive
Director Morgan Meneses-Sheets, pointing to ongoing 'financial
commitments' made by her without board knowledge,” the paper
reported. “He declined to elaborate the exact nature of those
Meneses-Sheets asserted that the
treasurer of the board signed off on all of the group's contracts.
“When I came in, in 2009, the
organization was in the red,” she said. “I rebuilt that
organization. We had no volunteer program. We had no field program.
Our donors did not trust us. … We were in the red. I rebuilt the
organization. And the thanks that I got was that when they needed a
political scapegoat, there I went.”
The beleaguered group's troubles began
soon after the Legislature rejected two high-profile gay rights bills
backed by Equality Maryland. A gay marriage bill died in the House
in March. And the Senate rejected a measure that would have banned
discrimination against transgender people in the areas of housing and