NAACP Vows to Defeat a Referendum on Death Penalty Repeal

(BALTIMORE) –The NAACP has released the following statement in response to the attempt to petition a referendum on the repeal of the death penalty in Maryland. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the bill to repeal the death penalty on May 2. NAACP National President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous and NAACP Maryland State Conference President Gerald Stansbury joined O'Malley at the signing.

From Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP:

“We are disappointed that the great achievement toward justice we achieved in recent weeks has been challenged, but we are prepared to defeat it,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Today Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger cast his lot with the most extreme right-wing elements of Maryland politics, who sought to block educational opportunities for our young people, and the right to marry for all. Like each of the referendums that attempted to shut down civil rights at the ballot box, this too will fail.”

“Make no mistake,” Jealous concluded. “If this goes to referendum the NAACP and countless allies throughout Maryland will be there to fight.”

From Gerald Stansbury, President, Maryland NAACP State Conference:

“This petition drive seeks to subvert the will of our legislators, costs Marylanders thousands in tax dollars, and will ultimately fail,” said NAACP Maryland State Conference President Gerald Stansbury. “This is a needless distraction at a time when there are so many other priorities for the state, including the need to address healthcare and education disparities. But if we are called to the fight, then fight we will.”

The NAACP and a coalition of death penalty repeal advocates worked closely with Maryland leaders to secure the bill's passage.


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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