Mark Procopio collection
The Mark Procopio Collection consists of ephemera, newspapers, and audiovisual material related to the LGBTQ+ movement in Maryland. Much of the material relates to Free State Justice, and its predecessor, Equality Maryland, which provide legal aid to the LGBTQ+ community.
- 1988 - 2014
- Procopio, Mark (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.
Mark Procopio is a lawyer for FreeState Justice.
FreeState Justice is a legal advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Marylanders. Despite recent, incremental judicial victories for the national LGBTQ+ community, the low-income LGBTQ+ population continues to struggle with legal challenges such as harassment, complex family law issues, and anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in employment, housing, foster care, healthcare, and public accommodations. In addition to needing attorneys with specific knowledge of how the law affects LGBTQ+ citizens, LGBTQ+ clients need attorneys who will treat them with respect and understanding. FreeState’s mission is to combine direct legal services with education and outreach to ensure that the low-income LGBTQ+ community in Maryland receives fair treatment in the law and society.
FreeState Justice was formed when Equality Maryland and FreeState Legal Project merged in the spring of 2016. The new name was announced at an event in Baltimore on June 30, 2016. A history of each of these organizations follows.
Equality Maryland’s primary focus was achieving legislative victories in Annapolis, and its efforts made Maryland one of the most inclusive states in the country for LGBTQ+ people. Equality Maryland was responsible for the passage of numerous laws affecting the LGBTQ+ community including the Anti-Discrimination Act, which bans sexual orientation-motivated discrimination in housing, public accommodations, lending, and employment statewide; an expanded state hate crimes statute that includes crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation and gender identity; the Medical Decisionmaking Act that extends some medical and funeral decision-making rights to domestic partners; and the Family Coverage Expansion Act, which requires insurance companies to write policies inclusive of domestic partners.
In 2012, Equality Maryland was part of the coalition that passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act, and then later that year, helped to defend the Civil Marriage Protection Act at the ballot box, making Maryland the first state to pass marriage equality by popular vote. Equality Maryland can also be credited with leadership in passing the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, a 2014 law that prohibits gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit.
FreeState Legal Project was a legal services organization founded in 2007 by a group of attorneys and law students who recognized that the specific needs of the low-income LGBTQ+ population in Maryland were not being effectively met. FreeState Legal began accepting cases in 2008 and began building a network of pro bono attorneys who volunteer their time to assist clients, making FreeState Legal the first statewide LGBTQ+ specific legal services organization in the country.
FreeState Legal provided direct legal services to low-income LGBTQ+ clients through its in-house counsel and pro bono attorney network; worked towards systemic law and policy changes through governmental advocacy; conducted outreach activities designed to promote self-advocacy within the LGBTQ+ community, particularly among LGBTQ+ teens; and provided educational training to Maryland lawyers and judges about LGBTQ+ legal needs.
After longstanding advocacy by FreeState Legal, including litigation on behalf of individuals and a request to federal regulators to require Maryland to prohibit transition-related care exclusions from state-regulated insurance plans governed by the federal Affordable Care Act, the Maryland Insurance Administration issued bulletins in December 2015 prohibiting individual, small-group, and student health insurance plans sold in Maryland from excluding health care coverage for services and procedures related to gender transition
(From Free State Justice Website, accessed June 19, 2018, https://freestate-justice.org/who-we-are/mission/)
1.3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Mark Procopio in January 2018.
Scope and Contents
The Mark Procopio Collection consists of three boxes of materials related to the LGBTQ+ community from 1988 – 2014. Materials include: brochures, pamphlets, and bumper stickers related to LGBTQ+ activist organizations and events including Equality Maryland, FreeState Justice, Red Emma’s Bookstore, and Maryland’s Black Family Alliance; newspapers and newspaper clippings containing articles related to the LGBTQ+ community and movement in Maryland; documents, including a framed copy of the Civil Marriage Protection Act signed by Governor Martin O’Malley; DVDs containing documentaries, recorded symposiums, promotional videos, and other programs related to the LGBTQ+ community [The Maryland Center for History and Culture does not own the copyright to programs found on the DVDs. These materials are for reference purposes only]. There is also a framed copy of Gaylife Maryland's "LGBT Community Newspaper," signed by comedian Joan Rivers.
- Guide to the Mark Procopio collection
- Under Revision
- Damon Talbot and Special Collections Volunteer Judy Hallfrisch
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-06-10: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock