As the Maryland Senate joins in annual Pride celebrations, there is no better individual to honor than the first openly gay member of the Maryland General Assembly. That individual is former Maryland State Senator and current Montgomery County Budget Director Richard Madaleno.
A Montgomery County resident since childhood, Madaleno grew up in Silver Spring and attended Montgomery County Public Schools and then later Georgetown Preparatory School. He’d go on to Syracuse University in New York where he’d graduate in 1989 with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Madaleno returned home to Maryland in the early 1990s serving as an Analyst for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services and then in the Intergovernmental Relations Office of then Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan. Madaleno would work for Montgomery County from 1995-2002 until he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.
Madaleno served four years in the Maryland House of Delegates 2003-2007. He’d be elected to the Maryland Senate in 2006 and would lead numerous important legislative efforts from his position on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. Madaleno’s chief legislative accomplishments would not be limited to budgetary matters however.
In 2009, Madaleno would introduce the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This legislation would not become law, but it would lay the groundwork for the ultimate legalization of same-sex marriage in 2012. In addition to his work on marriage equality, he would also successfully champion sweeping legislation to prevent the discrimination of transgender individuals in 2014 and important legislation to stop the practice of conversion therapy in Maryland.
Madaleno would leave the Maryland Senate in January 2019 and was correspondingly nominated to serve as the Budget Secretary for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. In addition to his new position, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. would also select Madaleno to receive the prestigious Maryland First Citizen Award in Mach 2019.
Clearly Senator Richard Madaleno has prominently taken his place in the history of Maryland’s leaders and in the history of the causes of social justice and equality.