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Posted at 9:34 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Arora pledges support for Maryland same-sex marriage bill

By John Wagner

After several days of wavering, Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery) announced Friday morning that he intends to vote for legislation allowing same-sex marriages in Maryland.

Arora said in a statement that he will vote for the bill both as a member of the Judiciary Committee and on the House floor, with the intention of ultimately letting Maryland voters decide the issue.

After several days of delay, the committee could vote on the bill Friday.

If the bills passes, both sides in the same-sex marriage debate expect opponents to take advantage of a provision in Maryland law that allows citizens to petition just-passed laws onto the ballot if they collect enough signatures.

"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," said Arora, who is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

Arora said that he personally prefers civil unions as an alternative to allowing gay couples to marry but decided voters should have "a direct say."

"On the floor, I will vote to send the bill to the governor so that Marylanders can ultimately decide this issue at the polls," he said. "I think that is appropriate."

In recent days, Arora had pledged to vote for the bill in committee but left open the possibility he would oppose it on the floor. That brought a torrent of criticism on his Facebook page and through other means.

Arora's complete statement is below.

"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."

By John Wagner  | March 4, 2011; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner, Same-Sex Marriage  
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Comments

The amazingly sweet irony here is that all the anti-equality folks screaming for a Gladiator-style up-or-down vote in 2012 won't get the chance to have one unless this bill passes -- and that's part of Arora's justification for voting YES on the bill! Gotta love it. Thanks for coming around, Sam.

Posted by: boomer400 | March 4, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Sam! It is the right thing to do!

Posted by: suec716 | March 4, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"...so that Marylanders can ultimately decide this issue at the polls. I think that is appropriate."

Because it's always appropriate to vote on civil rights. What a winner you have there, Maryland! When this yahoo comes up for re-election, I hope you remember this.

Posted by: redgrifn | March 4, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the "Civil Unions" approach will NEVER solve the problem, because although it is the states that say who can marry, the important rights are at the Federal Level. Since there will never be a compromise on civil unions or any other compromise to give some form of rights at the national level that can pass the U.S. Senate, we will need to keep fighting for the word "marriage" because only marriage is recognized in federal law. Civil Unions are worthless. If Republicans would allow a compromise of some sort at the Federal Level to get through the US Senate, many of us would be satisfied and this issue could go away, but since they will never compromise, we will have to keep fighting until we have full marriage rights. Currently some states have civil unions and it doesn't matter because article 3 of DOMA prevents marriage rights for same sex couples, but when that goes away, the worthlessness of civil unions will become glaringly obvious and they will no longer be considered as a suitable compromise by anyone.

Posted by: shevmonster | March 4, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I think we should give same-sex couples separate, but equal rights. Because that worked SO WELL before.

Posted by: mathewbrown | March 4, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

It is the fair and right thing to do, "Thanks for being on the right side of history."

Once this passes, people will see that it causes no harm to Marriage and that Maryland will be better for it.

Just let people be happy, what happens in their private life is no ones business. Just pass the bill. Equality for all.

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 4, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your support, you will see that Maryland will be better for it.

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 4, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

He thinks he'll stay everyone's friend by being wishy-washy.

Posted by: justanothercrusader | March 4, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

He thinks he'll stay everyone's friend by being wishy-washy. Stand up for what you believe in!

Posted by: justanothercrusader | March 4, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

This allows him to thread the needle and see how the political winds shift in 2012.

Then he can either claim "I voted for marriage equality" or "I voted to let the people decide".

Posted by: justanothercrusader | March 4, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Cool. It's time MD.

It's time for full marriage equality rights across America, and time to retire the marriage cops...

Cheers, Joe Mustich,
CT Justice of the Peace, USA.

Marriage in America is primarily civil and contractual, as marriage licenses are issued by and recorded in town halls not church halls, or mosques or temples....

Posted by: cornetmustich | March 4, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen so many article updates and they have not even voted yet.

Good Lord, hurry up and vote, so we have something new to talk about.

This is getting old. This is stupid and a waste of tax payers money.

Pass gay marriage now and move on.

Posted by: hotfuzz | March 4, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Now there's real conviction for you! Arora says he'll vote to approve the bill, but will let the voters decide, meaning a heated and divisive referendum. Hopefully, Arora will be up for re-election at that time, then the voters can decide to get rid of two wrongs at the same time.

Posted by: braunt | March 4, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"It should be civil unions for everybody. Civil unions for men and women and civil unions for same-sex couples. Then, if you want to, go to your church and have a wedding."

UNQUESTIONABLY THE CORRECT POSITION.

AND A PLAGUE ON ALL RELIGIONS AND FOLLOWERS OF THEM!

Posted by: slipuvalad | March 4, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"It should be civil unions for everybody. Civil unions for men and women and civil unions for same-sex couples. Then, if you want to, go to your church and have a wedding."
_____________________

That makes no sense.

Marriage is a civil and a religious concern.

It is a civil concern, because most heterosexual marriages in principle can produce children. That reproductive potential is a major civil/social concern that most societies think is quite important to recognize in a special way.

Our culture celebrates diversity.

Why is it suddenly a sin to recognize diversity in relationships where the biologies are quite distinct?

Posted by: captn_ahab | March 4, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

He still wimped out. Will let the citizens make the final decision? Referendum? No. Rights are not put up for a popular vote, the legislature does the right thing, and makes it law. Others do not have a say in if the rest of the states citizens can be treated as lesser citizens. If you allow that, let put "stupid" and religion on a referendum.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 4, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Will gays get to vote on heterosexual marriages as well?

Posted by: toq999 | March 4, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

UGH! The following is so WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!:

""It should be civil unions for everybody. Civil unions for men and women and civil unions for same-sex couples. Then, if you want to, go to your church and have a wedding."

"UNQUESTIONABLY THE CORRECT POSITION."

"AND A PLAGUE ON ALL RELIGIONS AND FOLLOWERS OF THEM!""

* * *

NO.

It should be civil MARRIAGE for everybody. Civil MARRIAGES for men and women and civil MARRIAGES for same-sex couples. Then, if you want to, go to your church and have the Rite of Holy Matrimony performed if that's what floats your boat.

The State has been in the marriage "business" for FAR LONGER than "The Church" (TM, all rights reserved). It is the State that governs the laws regarding marriage and all its benefits, rights, privileges and obligations (divorce, custody, inheritance, immigration, testifying against your spouse, etc.) - NOT The Church. It is by the good graces of the State that the State recognizes marriages performed in faith settings as legal marriages, and not vice versa.

In fact ALL clergy intone the words, "And now, by the powers vested in me BY THE STATE ...", and not vice versa.

Please get it right (you should pardon the expression).

Posted by: Truthbetold3 | March 4, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Re:

"It is a civil concern, because most heterosexual marriages in principle can produce children. That reproductive potential is a major civil/social concern that most societies think is quite important to recognize in a special way."

So, heterosexual marriages that do not produce children should get no "special" recognition? Which benefits of marriage should we deny THEM?

(And then, again, many gay people have children. Why exclude them from the legal protections and benefits of marriage?)

Procreation, while a wonderful thing, is not a requirement of marriage - ANYONE'S.

Jeez, you'd think letting gay couples marry would prevent heterosexuals from marrying. Or reproducing.

A little logic, please.

Posted by: Truthbetold3 | March 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

DOWN WITH "RELIGIOUS" MARRIAGE ALTOGETHER!

Posted by: slipuvalad | March 4, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Ask yourself, "How many times have I made a bad decision while experiencing a fit of anger? Then only to regret my hot-headed decision after coming to my senses.

This is what will happen if the state government allows citizen to passionately vote on hot issues.

Posted by: localgoober | March 4, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@ slipuvalad,

"DOWN WITH "RELIGIOUS" MARRIAGE ALTOGETHER!"

Since America promises you (and ALL citizens) freedom of religion, that ain't ever gonna happen. Please see my post of March 4, 2011 2:46 PM - and I hpe you will support civil MARRIAGE for all, and not "civil" unions (UGH!!!) for anyone since SEPARATE but 'EQUAL' is NEVER EQUAL.

Posted by: Truthbetold3 | March 4, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I hate - no, LOATHE - the smarmy dictum "the will of the people" because the people can (and DO) get it wrong so often. Prop 8, anyone? Marriage pre-Loving v. Virginia, anyone? Slavery, anyone?

Posted by: Truthbetold3 | March 4, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I hope this issue gets on the ballot so the Mormon church will invest millions and millions of dollars in Maryland to fight it.

It will be a huge financial boon to the state and we'll get even more of those cute pairs of Mormon missionaries going door to door.

I like talking to them about their sacred undergarments and if any of them had ever known a gay Mormon (so far, none has).

I'm optimistic that the people of Maryland are smart enough, fair minded enough and decent enough to vote in favor of Marriage Equality. The Mormons won't catch us off guard like California.

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 4, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

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