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Gay Rights Group Made the "Terrorist" List

Equality Maryland, the state's largest gay rights group, was among the peaceful protest groups to be classified as terrorists in a Maryland State Police database.

The group was designated a "security threat" by the Homeland Security and Intelligence Division, which also kept dossiers on dozens of activists and at least a dozen groups. Police kept files on Equality Maryland's plans to hold rallies outside the State House in Annapolis to press for legislation reversing the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Police plan to purge the files.

The files were revealed yesterday at a news conference, where a dozen Democratic lawmakers announced plans to introduce legislation to prevent future surveillance of nonviolent groups.

Police would need "reasonable articulated suspicion of actual criminal activity" before they could conduct surveillance, the legislation's sponsors said.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) also plans to call for a similar bill. The measure also would prevent police from keeping files on citizens, unless the information is part of a legitimate criminal investigation.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 23, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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