Maryland's legislature is so very, very close to legalizing same-sex marriage. How close? Well, the debate is already at that last-minute choke point where a handful of annoying Democrats nearly screw it up for no real reason!
The bill has already passed the state Senate in a close vote. The Democratic majority leader is strongly opposed to it, but he brought it to a vote anyway, which was nice. Now all it has to do is pass a measly House of Delegates. Houses are supposed to be easier than Senates as a rule of thumb, right? It depends. Because Houses usually have more annoying people who could lose their minds at any time and screw up everything.
Which bring us to Delegate Sam Arora, a freshman from the upscale D.C. suburbs who was, until a few days ago, a top prospect for Democratic grooming. He was an aide to the Democratic National Committee and then to Sen. Hillary Clinton for three years. He was considered "beautiful" among his peers on the Hill, which should be taken with a grain of salt.
He actively solicited, and won, donations from LGBT groups and donors during his campaign and promised to support marriage equality, not only in his campaign statements, but on a signed candidate's questionnaire. He co-sponsored the same-sex marriage bill under consideration, and only a month ago he was tweeting in support of it. And then a day or two ago, out of absolutely nowhere, he changed his mind, became an opponent of same-sex marriage, said he'd vote against it on the floor — which is expected to be a tight tally — once it got out of committee, and secretly deleted his month-old tweet in support of it. Apparently he's pretty big into Jesus these days, and Jesus told him not to support marriage equality after all. Donors want their money back, because he lied to them like a complete asshole.
Fortunately Arora caught so much rage online and in the newspapers yesterday that he grudingly relented this morning and said he'd vote for it. Good for him! But his political career is over. This political mistake by a freshman in the lower chamber of a state legislature was so monumentally terrible that it's become a hot national political story. He killed a lot of momentum with his brief come-to-Jesus detour, after all.
Meanwhile, two other Democratic delegates whose votes are needed to get the bill out of committee and were thought to be fairly safe are having "second thoughts" and calling in sick or not showing up to work on voting days. One wants money for some program and another bill passed, the other is basically scared shitless of certain powerful constituents back in her district. She's floated a "compromise" for a vote on civil unions instead of marriage. The gays do not care for this late-in the-game "compromise," because obviously.
So Maryland Democrats: Can you pull off this major achievement, or will three batty nobodies within your own party screw it up for no apparent reason? We'll see! If it doesn't pan out though, well... it's only boring Maryland, so whatever.
[Image of the State House dome in my lovely hometown of Annapolis, Maryland via AP]