On election day in November, there’s more than a presidential race at stake for Maryland residents. A proposition to legalize same-sex marriage is also on the ballot, and if it passes, the state will become the first to legislate marriage equality by popular vote, though three other states will have similar questions on their November 6 ballots.
Last week, Marylanders for Marriage Equality—a group working to garner support for the proposed law—announced that it would host a fundraiser at the 9:30 Club on September 25 starring American Idol alum and Grammy nominee Adam Lambert. We chatted with Lambert late last week about why the cause is so important to him and why he thinks marriage equality should be a bipartisan issue.
Tell me a little bit about what you’re up to these days.
I released my second full-length studio album, Trespassing, in the spring. I worked on it for so long, and I’m really excited about it. Since then, I’ve been promoting it both in the US and around the world. I’ll be moving on to my third* single pretty soon. Other than that, I did six shows with Queen in Europe.
How will this 9:30 Club performance be different from the last time you were there?
When I was on tour two years ago, I was there, and it was great. Since then, I think I’ve evolved as an artist, my music has evolved, and my fans have, too. What’s exciting about this concert is that it’s a benefit for something I think is really important. I usually keep a distance from politics—not because I don’t have my own opinions, but because politics in this country involves a lot of mudslinging and negativity. Marriage equality, though, is a human-rights issue—it’s nonpartisan, and I think it should bring people together, which is what I’m all about.
Talk to me about why this cause is so important to you.
I think there’s a lot of fear among people who oppose gay and lesbian marriage. I personally believe you’re born one way or the other. Some people think it’s a choice. I think the only choice involved is whether you’re going to be honest about who you are or not, and I’m really big on honesty. If this is something we can get passed, what we’re doing for the next generation is lifting a ton of shame and guilt and secrecy off of the LGBT community. The clichés attached to the gay community were born out of shame and secrecy, and if we can get rid of those things, we’ll end up with a lot more happy, normalized gay and lesbian kids.
If the Civil Protection Act passes in November, Maryland will be the first state to affirm marriage equality by vote. Does it surprise you that it’s here rather than somewhere else?
It’s very forward-thinking of Maryland, and it’s great. When Prop 8 in California didn’t pass, everyone was really surprised. I promised myself that if I ever got the opportunity to support something like this again, I would. I had no guess where that opportunity would come from, but I’m very fortunate to be in this position. When my manager called me and told me about this vote and this benefit, I said, “Hell, yeah.” I hope something like this can start a trend, because marriage is a symbol that has the opportunity to lead to more tolerance and more integration.
Are there any other causes you can see yourself stumping for like this?
This is a big one for me, but I’ve also been involved with gay and lesbian youth groups and plenty of non-gay issues, as well. Things like DonorsChoose, which was really important to me because I was able to focus on creative art programs in public schools. I’ve also been working with Charity: Water. These are all pretty major issues that speak to me: gay rights, arts education, and water.
If you could’ve picked anyone else to host this event with you, who would you have liked?
I think the whole idea here is that it’s not a niche issue. It’s about basic equality, and I think really anyone could care about that enough to do something.
Tickets for tomorrow night’s benefit ($125 to $250) are on sale through Ticketfly, or at the 9:30 Club and Merriweather Post Pavilion box offices.
*This post has been updated from a previous version.