Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 5:31 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Sam Arora's disgraceful wavering on marriage equality in Maryland

By Jonathan Capehart

Around 9:00 a.m. Thursday, Maryland House Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) -- who raised a ton of cash from the gay community and progressives based on his stance on marriage equality and who is a co-sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill now about to come up for a vote -- tweeted, "Hearing from constituents, friends. Please keep sending your thoughts (sam.arora@house.state.md.us). Thinking & praying hard." And he's been catching hell on his Facebook page ever since.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Arora has said he will vote for the marriage equality bill in the judiciary committee, but has yet to commit to voting for the measure when it hits the floor, possibly next week. "This bill deserves an up-or-down vote, so I'm voting to send it to the floor," he told the Sun. That sudden reluctance to say he will vote for a bill he co-sponsored has friends mystified and former supporters fuming, at best, calling him a liar and demanding their donations back, at worst.

ARORA.jpg

Even Arora's friends from Democratic Party politics and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign are mystified. Democratic strategist Karen Finney called his apparent change of heart "[v]ery disappointing" in a post on Arora's Facebook page. And Neera Tanden, policy director for Clinton's campaign and then the domestic policy adviser on the Obama-Biden campaign, is among those who wants her contribution refunded.

I am profoundly disappointed that supporting marriage equality is even a question for Sam. This isn't the Sam I knew and worked with, or supported in his campaign. I am asking him to return my contribution to his campaign.

I should point out that Arora received the endorsement of The Washington Post last October.

One clue to how he might vote was just noticed by the folks at AMERICAblog Gay. A Tweet from Arora on Jan. 25 championing his co-sponsorship of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act was deleted from his Twitter feed. Arora hasn't responded to my request to talk yet. If he does, I would ask him about that deleted Tweet. I would also want him to confirm reports by AMERICAblog Gay that he has already decided against voting for the marriage equality bill due to pressure from his church and because he doesn't want to "redefine marriage."

The outrage directed at Arora is understandable. As is the sense of betrayal. He raised money from gays and lesbians based on his support for marriage equality. He secured the endorsements of Progressive Maryland and of Equality Maryland because of it. In fact, get a load of what he wrote as an addendum to his questionnaire for Equality Maryland.

I am a former law clerk to Attorney General Doug Gansler. I publicly supported his decision to recognize out-of-state marriage licenses for same-sex couples and immediately put out a release praising his findings. For me, it's simply a matter of equal rights under the law.

Gay Marylanders want the respect, dignity and responsibility that comes with marriage. And Arora was elected to his first term in the House of Delegates, in part, because of his promise to get it done. Politicians break promises all the time. But this is different. If Arora fails to vote for the marriage equality bill he campaigned for and co-sponsored when it comes to the floor next week not only would it be disgraceful, he would be a disgrace.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 3, 2011; 5:31 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A warning to would-be interventionists in Libya
Next: Sheen madness

Comments

I certainly hope that all the folks that will comment here and on Facebook will also take the time to CALL Sam Arora's office, since that it much harder for him to ignore than it is for him to just stop reading the internet or checking his facebook, which he seems to have done.
Here, let me help you with that: (410) 841-3528 or (301) 858-3528.

Posted by: thecommitteeboat | March 3, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Sam Arora is a fraud

Posted by: kcflood87 | March 3, 2011 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Sam Arora and feel profoundly betrayed. Sam stood on the steps of my Silver Spring home and told me he supported full marriage equality in Maryland. He also called me on his first week of session to say he had co-sponsored the Civil Marriage bill. My partner and I have been together for 15 years - we have children and are a family. We want the right to marry.
I can't even express how sad I am with this situation.

Posted by: julietagen | March 3, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

What thecommitteeboat said. And kcflood87.

Thinking and praying hard about what? Whether he wants to be remembered as a backstabbing crook who caved to the bigots or one of the men and women who stood up for civil rights?

If that's a tough choice he needs to find another job.

Posted by: whowhat | March 3, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I have the correct story. We have a politician who took money from an interest group by promising to vote a certain way on an issue to win an election. After he took the money and won the election, he may or may not vote the way he seemingly had promised people who gave him money and voted for him. So we have a politician who took money and lied to supporters and voters. My comment is quite simple: Is this not typical behavior on the part of American politicians.

Posted by: jeffreed | March 3, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

But who is surprised though? Politicians are absolute cowards when it comes to LGBT rights. They fear to stand for what they know is right. As usual, gays and lesbians will have to take this matter to court and SUE, again and again, until our rights are no longer denied. Until SCOTUS can no longer see the obvious and grand us marriage equality.

Here's someone who's not being re-elected anyways, no matter what.

Posted by: Skulander | March 3, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Sam, you are beyond pathetic. Your conduct has been fraudulent. First you take people's money during the campaign, lying to your supporters that you would support Marriage Equality, then you even carry out the fraudulent Charade by agreeing to be a co-sponsor, and now you are VOTING AGAINST IT? Despicable! I don't know how you can look in the mirror!

Posted by: gibbgary | March 3, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like someone may be threatening to out him if he votes for marriage equality.

Posted by: streff | March 3, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I always believe any legislator should vote his or her conscience, not party line. Nevertheless, if you raise GLBT money and seek GLBT endorsements, you should be ashamed to vote against GLBT interests. To campaign for equality, then to resort to religious bigotry is beyond reprehensible. Shame on you, Sam Arora. You disgrace the office you hold and the religion you claim.

Posted by: gottaknowy2 | March 3, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Now, to add insult to injury, Maggie Gallagher is saying gay activists in Maryland are trashing Arora because he's Indian-American, as is her child. What?? Arora broke his promise to the gay citizens of Maryland; he should be charged with fraud and misappropriation of funds. All of a sudden, Arora is born-again and has to reduce gay folk to second-class citizens.

Posted by: mad1026 | March 3, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Maggie Gallagher? You mean, from HATE GROUP NOM? Yes, that would be her. Spouting her hate left and right. She is losing this battle and is up to ANYTHING, and I mean, ANYTHING, along with Brian Brown, to deny or take away the rights of gays and lesbians. She insists that our civil rights be put up for popular vote. But wait! Our votes ARE put up to popular vote. When hate groups are allowed and able to sway legislators into thinking that we are dangerous monsters undermining the family, the institution of marriage, and core American values (???), when such hate groups like NOM manage to spout such hate and homophobia, and succeed, this is to me the very troubling sign of a very, very sick society.

WHY do credible newspapers give hate groups a platform to utter hate and homophobia is beyond me. Do we let the KKK proffer their crass racism? Of course not. Fact is, NOM is the new KKK.

Posted by: Skulander | March 3, 2011 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Good for him.

Posted by: franciscastro40 | March 4, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

How laughable that his considered Christian/religious action is to lie and deceive his supporters.

How to end your political career in two shorts months ...

Posted by: t_parker16 | March 4, 2011 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Sam. Do the right thing, morally and economically, and support SSM as we did here in CT.

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

Onward to full marriage equality rights now..and please remember that in America, marriage is firstly contractual and civil.

Posted by: cornetmustich | March 4, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

What gets me is the GLBT community keep saying that they have no agenda. Well if there is no agenda then why all the hateful comments on his fb page. This should prove even more that there is an agenda by the gay community and they want their agenda to infiltrate politics and schools and churches and so forth and so on. They hate God and it shows. Watch how many haters will now post under me for speaking the truth. I will now be called names and so forth. Let the hate begin by them.

Posted by: franciscastro40 | March 4, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Sam. Do the right thing, morally and economically, and support SSM as we did here in CT.

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

Onward to full marriage equality rights now..and please remember that in America, marriage is firstly contractual and civil.

Posted by: cornetmustich | March 4, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

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

In America we have freedom of and freedom of religion. So the marrige cops should honor America and just retire....

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

Posted by: cornetmustich | March 4, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

One man is married to a woman.

Another man has a civil union or domestic partnership with another man.

Clearly those relationships are different, as men are different from women

Different issues, different problems, different biological differences between the participants in the different relationships.

Perhaps, for a variety of social reasons, including the fact that the man woman sexual relationship can in most cases give rise to children, the state chooses to give a few more priviledges to the heterosexual couple.

Unless marriage is exclusively about some sort of romantic feeling, which is the least likely reason for the state to be interested in a couple, the same sex civil union is different from the marriage.

How does one become a second class citizen, because one man or woman has a marriage and the other has a civil union?

A same sex sexual/romantic union is clearly different from an opposite sex one, just as apples are not oranges.

Posted by: captn_ahab | March 4, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Sam is a legislator, not a pastor, reverend, father, or any other religious entity when it comes to the same-sex marriage bill.

If he wants to practice his religious fundamentalism in the privacy of his own home, so be it. But there is a separation of church and state in this country. This is a civil, secular matter.

More importantly, he PROMISED he would vote in favor of this. Not tepidly or hesitantly but with full-force and vigor. And in the midst of an historic move in the legislature, he changes his mind. What???

If he had said he was not sure, before he ran for office, this would be entirely different. No one forced him to suck up to the LGBT community and ask for their money.

If he votes no, I will be joining those who will campaigning for Jay Hutchins, next time.

Posted by: bikedude | March 4, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Why want "marriage"? Isn’t what everyone wants is the same privileges not the same title? The title is about societal acceptance. The privileges are about the practical aspects of daily living. Any group who is historically denied privileges doesn’t want to "become" the entitled group, they want the privileges of the entitled group.

Posted by: allsides | March 4, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

To Ahab: You need to do your homework - marriage gives the two people involved full rights in the state and nation, well over 1,000 laws and regs. A "civil union" gives only a limited number of rights. It is a separate and unequal idea.

And to fcastro, the "agenda" he speaks about is the idea that LGBT people want to recruit children to become gay or other such craziness. They can't because sexuality is determined at birth.

Gays and others who support equality and the end of discrimination in marriage, have all kinds of goals, just like any other group. Activists do not deny it.

Gays don't hate God. I don't hate you. And if this so-called "agenda" means teaching children that discrimination is bad and that we should be judged by our character and actions and not color, gender or sexuality, then I'm all in favor of that radical agenda.

Posted by: bikedude | March 4, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

If these kinuckleheads ever get "marriage equality" what will they have to be unhappy about, and what will poor Ms. Capehart have to write about?

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | March 4, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

So let's see...

Sam Arora used contributions and political support from supporters of marriage equality to get ahead in politics, presumably because he was convinced the bill would never pass the Senate and therefore he could have his cake and eat it too. He co-sponsored the bill and supported it *right up until the moment it had a realistic chance of passing*.

This speaks volumes about his character.

Mr. Arora, vote for marriage equality or resign immediately and let the voters of District 19 be represented by someone who will represent their values in good faith.

Posted by: a_lafollette | March 4, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Since Proposition 22 passed in California in 2000 – defining marriage as between one man and one woman – people have attacked the voters’ decision from all sides. They say that this definition of marriage is unconstitutional and backward thinking.

Here’s what we know:
God ordained marriage is between one man and one woman.
The history of this country was built upon the foundation of marriage and Biblical principles.
The traditional institution of marriage is the best institution for raising children.

I do not pretend to know the genesis of same sex attraction,
but I consider it ultimately irrelevant to this debate.
On this point, I agree with same sex marriage advocate Professor
John Corvino:
The fact is that there are plenty of genetically influenced
traits that are nevertheless undesirable. Alcoholism may
have a genetic basis, but it doesn’t follow that alcoholics
ought to drink excessively. Some people may have a genetic
predisposition to violence, but they have no more right to attack
their neighbors than anyone else. Persons with such
tendencies cannot say, “God made me this way” as an excuse
for acting on their dispositions!
"It's downright frightening to hear U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggest that moral disapproval of homosexual 'marriages' is somehow unconstitutional. What's next, federal lawsuits against states with man-woman marriage laws and federal investigations of individuals who believe marriage is only for a man and a woman?"


And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
Jesus Christ in Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV

Posted by: lyn3 | March 4, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@lyn3, Your argument is entirely based on flaws. You state we "know" that
1. "God ordained marriage is between one man and one woman." The first amendment denies governmental recognition of a religion, and atheists can marry too. Marriage doesn't have to be god ordained.

2 "The history of this country was built upon the foundation of marriage and Biblical principles."
As a matter of fact, many founding fathers were Deists. Thomas Jefferson himself said, "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."So you are wrong, the history of this country WAS NOT founded upon biblical principles.

3. The traditional institution of marriage is the best institution for raising children.
This has NEVER been proven and you are incredibly bigoted to say this. After all, you're parents were straight, and look at how intolerant you turned out to be.

You sicken me.

"An equal application of law to every condition of man is fundamental"
-- Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: samdman95 | March 4, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This hysteria over Arora changing his mind is hypocritical to the max. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a long-time opponent of SSM, decides (under intense leadership pressure) to vote for the bill in Committee. Howls of betrayal? Of course not, because that was a change you liked. People do think and pray about contentious issues. If Arora decided that in the scheme of things, the goals of equality could be adequately met with civil unions, and that SSM would work too radical a change in our social fabric, why should he be vilified for making that determination. These SSM liberals act as if they bought and paid for his vote, and the guy is not supposed to think anymore just because he filled out their little questionnaire! Get a life!

Posted by: TokyoTom | March 6, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

This hysteria over Arora changing his mind is hypocritical to the max. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a long-time opponent of SSM, decides (under intense leadership pressure) to vote for the bill in Committee. Howls of betrayal? Of course not, because that was a change you liked. People do think and pray about contentious issues. If Arora decided that in the scheme of things, the goals of equality could be adequately met with civil unions, and that SSM would work too radical a change in our social fabric, why should he be vilified for making that determination. These SSM liberals act as if they bought and paid for his vote, and the guy is not supposed to think anymore just because he filled out their little questionnaire! Get a life!

Posted by: TokyoTom | March 6, 2011 8:03 AM | Report abuse

If he wants a continued political career, he will vote against this atrocious legislation. If he votes for it, he's dead meat at the polls and can go on to repairing broken cars or other blue collar trades. He's one of the key votes on this, and he should vote his mind and oppose this bill. He's voting with the majority sentiment of his voters opposing it, and not for a group with a special agenda by voting for it.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | March 6, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company