And, fourth, history calls you to protect and support equality under the law. You represent a party that was once the nation's unquestioned political movement for and defender of civil rights. Despite fierce Democratic opposition, Republicans passed constitutional amendments banning slavery, extending the Bill of Rights to the states, guaranteeing equal protection of the laws and due process to all citizens, and extending the right to vote to persons of all races and backgrounds. Republicans in Congress enacted the first-ever Civil Rights Act, which extended citizenship and equal rights to people of all races, all colors, and all creeds. In 1875, Republicans led the expansion of these protections to give all citizens the right to access public accommodations. Republicans initially led the fight for women's rights. And, it was a Republican justice, John Marshall Harlan, who in 1896 declared that our Constitution recognizes "no superior, dominant class of citizens. ... In respect of civil rights all citizens are equal before the law." Today, lead as they did, to end invidious discrimination and to bring to all of Maryland's citizens the promise of equality and the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.