Arora Goes Clintonian
March 4th, 2011
It looks like Maryland delegate Sam Arora got an earful after he tried to pull an Arora yesterday, in which he pulled back his support for a bill allowing marriage Equality that is making its way through Maryland’s lower house. Until this week, he had not only co-sponsored the bill, but campaigned (and accepted campaign donations) on the promise that he would support marriage equality. Then he announced that he would screw his LGBT and LGBT-supportive constituents who helped get him elected by voting no on the measure. Then today, we get this:
I have heard from constituents, friends, and advocates from across the spectrum of views and have thought about the issue of same-sex marriage extensively. I understand their concern—this is a very serious issue, and one that many people feel passionately about. As the vote drew nearer, I wrestled with this issue in a way I never had before, which led me to realize that I had some concerns about the bill. While I personally believe that Maryland should extend civil rights to same-sex couples through civil unions, I have come to the conclusion that this issue has such impact on the people of Maryland that they should have a direct say. I will vote to send the bill to the floor because it deserves an up-or-down vote. On the floor, I will vote to send the bill to the governor so that Marylanders can ultimately decide this issue at the polls. I think that is appropriate.
That has got to be the most convoluted mess of a statement I’ve ever seen. But the bottom line is that when Maryland’s House Judiciary committee finally voted to send the bill to the House floor, Arora voted yes.
As recently as February 21, Arora told his constituents that he passionately believed in marriage equality. According to Joe Sudbay, Arora was still privately speaking of his support for the bill as late as Sunday. But two days later, he started tweeting that he was walking back his support. Along the way, something or somebody definitely got to Arora.
So now, we have his yes vote — and yes, that part is with my thanks and with gratitude — along with this strange, disturbing, Clintonesque statement that continues to raise red flags. You remember what happened when President Bill Clinton went Clintonian on LGBT rights: we got DOMA and DADT. So now we have Arora trying to pull off the same thing. He is now against marriage equality, thinks we should have civil unions instead, and wants to get this bill to the governor as quickly as possible to NOM can gather signatures for a referendum so that our rights can be put up to a vote. Just so you know what he’s talking about, this is how that referendum process would work:
According to Maryland’s State Board of Elections, opponents of the marriage bill can start collecting signatures for a statewide referendum immediately after the passage of the bill in the House of Delegates, before Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signs the bill. A total of 55,736 signatures are required on the petition and must be submitted to Secretary of State John P. McDonough (D) by June 30. One third of those signatures are due on May 31.
This sets up a strange dynamic. The longer the House can delay the vote, the less time signature gatherers would have to collect signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. But the longer the House delays, the more time there is for Arora and others with a similar lack of integrity to change their minds and vote against the bill. You would think that with Democrats holding a 98-43 majority in the House, this should be an easy shot. But you would be wrong. Such is the moral cowardice of far too many Dems who were elected with LGBT support.