Story to Watch: Maryland State Delegate Claims Pro-Gay Bias

According The Washington Blade, Baltimore attorney J. Wyndal Gordon , who is representing Maryland State Del. Tiffany Alston, said that the indictment of his client for alleged campaign finance violations under state criminal law is somehow related to her opposition towards a recent marriage equality bill. Gordon said that Alston was initially being investigated by authorities through a non-criminal, civil process led by the Board of Elections. State prosecutors later decided to press criminal charges against Alston, a decision that Gordon claims was reactive to the upset she caused among marriage equality supporters. Specifically, Alston has been accused of making illegal disbursements from her election campaign account for personal use, including paying for her own wedding. If she is convicted, she may face up to 10 years in prison and may be forced to step down from her position as a state delegate representing Prince George’s County. Chief prosecutor at the Office of the State Prosecutor, James Cabezas, declined to comment on Gordon’s claims regarding Alston’s indictment.

It is important that media coverage of Gordon’s claim does not suggest that the claims might be true. There is no way of evidencing Gordon’s claim, and he admits this himself, asserting that his statement is not based on empirical information. Placing the blame for allegations of illegal financial activity on those who hold opinions that conflict with those of the accused is a tactic to divert attention away from the real issue. As board chair of the Equality Maryland Foundation, Lisa Polyak, told the Blade, “Mr. Gordon’s remarks are disappointing, as they seem to scapegoat our community as a means to achieve fair treatment for his client.” GLAAD encourages our constituents to monitor coverage around Alston’s indictment and report on any stories that give credence to Gordon’s far-fetched statements.

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