Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marriage Equality JuiceBlender // Maryland Senate Final Vote Today @ 4, More Sam Arora Fallout, O'Malley Weighs Platform

Here's a random blend of political tidbits relating to marriage equality, starting with an update on the bill's status in the State Senate:

JUICE #1: SENATE VOTE TODAY // WATCH IT HERE: Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey tweets that the State Senate is likely to take up a final vote on marriage equality at 4:00 pm today:

Maryland Juice is hosting a live, real-time Twitter feed of the historic State Senate vote below. You can also listen to the proceedings at the same time.

JUICE #2: SAM ARORA'S SENATOR ROGER MANNO DETAILS BEHIND-THE-SCENES EFFORTS: Yes, people are still pissed about temporary Delegate Sam Arora's betrayal on marriage equality. For example, a column in today's UMD Diamondback notes that the Internet has created a new form of accountability for politicians:
DIAMONDBACK: Years ago, before the netroots and social media were prominent in politics, Arora's betrayal would've been unknown to those who don't follow the minutiae of legislation and political leaders. However, in today's world of Change petitions, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, there's nowhere for cowardly politicians to hide. Every political issue has dedicated bloggers who closely follow political developments. In short, Arora isn't going to get away with his betrayal 
The Washington Blade today also published an interview with District 19 State Senator Roger Manno, who shares a district with temporary Delegate Sam Arora (excerpt below):
Sen. Manno (D-District 19), in a lengthy interview with the Blade, recalled his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to persuade Arora to support the bill, stretching back to last year.

“It’s a very tough situation,” Manno said. “I’m extremely concerned and disappointed and have spoken to constituents who are confused and concerned. I’m so … deeply disappointed and sad that Sam could not get there for whatever reason....”

“I could sense there could be a problem,” Manno said. “And I tried to mentor him. Freshmen make mistakes here and it’s easy to do things that are damaging to your career and that hurt people....”

“In my heart, marriage equality is an important and timely issue of emancipation for loving families who happen to be of the same sex,” Manno said.

After the marriage bill died in the House last year and the session ended, Manno said Arora took time off to study for the bar exam. Then last summer the two colleagues met again to discuss marriage.

“We sat for several hours and talked about his thoughts on marriage equality and where he was on the bill and he represented it was a crisis of faith,” Manno said....

When the 2012 session started last month, Manno said he continued to reach out to Arora, culminating with an hour-long meeting last week before a joint committee vote on the marriage bill....

“I didn’t know where he was going to go that week,” Manno said. Arora ultimately abstained from voting in committee at which point, “I put my head in my hands and said, ‘oh no,’” Manno said....
“The vote came Friday, I was on the floor, I sent him a text a minute before the vote. I believed at the end of the day he would put a green vote on the board and he didn’t. The chamber erupted in jubilation, rightfully so, but I was standing on the floor with my head hung because Sam had disappointed a lot of people....”

“A former boss of mine once said that politics is about loyalty — to people, ideas, communities. At the end of the day, that’s really what we do,” Manno said. “Politicians have to answer for what we do in the next election and we all have to answer for what we do in the next life and I try to keep that in the forefront of my thoughts everyday....”

“Marriage is a terribly uncomplicated issue,” he said. “If you love people and want to see that spark ignite, you have to love everyone.”

JUICE #3: O'MALLEY WOULD CONSIDER MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN DEM PLATFORM: Yesterday, Maryland Juice reported that the national Young Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the Progressive Caucus are calling for marriage equality to be added to the national Democratic Party platform. Today, Think Progress reports that in a recent interview, Governor Martin O'Malley stated that he would consider the proposal. Governor O'Malley's strong support for marriage equality has clearly made all the difference this year, and he should get gobs of credit for its passage this year, in my honest opinion. Maybe he could make a difference at the national level, too?
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said he may be open to supporting the campaign to include marriage equality in the Democrat’s 2012 party platform...
“Perhaps, I haven’t given a whole lot of thought to that,” O’Malley said in a response to a question from SiriusXM’s Michelangelo Signorile, and stressed that the party must prioritize job creation “in order to get re-elected.”

Maryland Juice thinks that O'Malley raises a fair point about the need to balance the Democrats' issue portfolio. Nevertheless, it seems clear that the Democratic Primary voters in 2016 will reward candidates who were forward-thinking on this and other issues, and that the issue can be addressed without eclipsing the need to prioritize job-creation. After all, it is the rightwing extremists who are making us spend so much time debating what should otherwise be a simple proposition: equal protection under the law for all families.

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