Sunday, April 8, 2012

LEAKED DOCS: Handwritten Notes from Sam Arora's Interview with Equality Maryland // Democratic Lawmaker Is Lying

BACKGROUND: Maryland's Democratic lawmaker Sam Arora became notorious last year when he hinted at plans to betray the LGBT community. While running for office as a pro-marriage equality candidate in 2010, Arora raised money from the LGBT community and liberal Democrats alike.


FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE: Sam Arora was elected in a competitive primary in September 2010 and took office in 2011. But in his first year in office, Arora stunned national Democratic activists when on the eve of a potential close committee vote, he indicated he would break his campaign promise and vote against marriage equality. A tidal wave of outrage emerged around the nation, and Arora's office became flooded with calls.

Sam Arora ended up voting to send marriage equality to the full House for a floor vote, but left unclear how he himself would vote on the measure. Syndicated columnist and LGBT activist Dan Savage famously responded by writing a column titled "Destroy Sam Arora." The matter never came to a vote, however, and Arora did not have to deal with marriage equality again until earlier this year.

THE BETRAYAL: At the start of the 2012 legislative session, Governor Martin O'Malley indicated that marriage equality would be an administration priority this year. With another expected close whip count, all eyes again turned to Sam Arora to see if he had decided not to betray his supporters. Instead he hid from public view and triggered another tidal wave of national outrage. The blogosphere and social networks once again lit up. But this time, Arora was forced to take a position -- and as we all know now, he chose to betray his supporters and vote against marriage equality.

THE COVER-UP: For weeks after voting against marriage equality, Sam Arora would not own up to his misdeeds and hid from the public. He banned constituents from his Facebook and Twitter accounts who criticized his betrayal, and even some who simply demanded an explanation. Numerous lawmakers who serve with Sam reported on futile efforts to get Arora to explain why he had betrayed marriage equality supporters.

Last week, we finally reported that Sam Arora had decided to address the issue to constituents. Maryland Juice obtained a leaked copy of a constituent letter Arora had mailed explaining his flip-flop. The Democratic lawmakers storyline is as follows: "before last year, I had not fully considered the issue of legislating same-sex marriage." In short, Arora is saying he had filled out his questionnaire saying he would co-sponsor marriage equality legislation without having thought about the issue.

MORE OUTRAGE & DISBELIEF: Immediately, the blogosphere again lit up in outrage at Sam Arora's non-explanation of his betrayal. The LGBT-rights advocates at AMERICAblog wrote:
AMERICAblog: Maryland Delegate Sam Arora just issued a letter claiming that he never fully considered the issue of marriage equality before last year, 2011, and that's why he got so confused when the issue came up and flip-flopped on the issue, ultimately betraying his promise, his friends, and his constituents.

Only problem?  There's lots of proof that Arora considered the issue in 2010 and was fully in favor of marriage equality when he ran for election the first time.  So why is he so blatantly lying?

Meanwhile, Instinct Magazine declared: "Rep. Sam Arora Lying To Constituents In Wake Of Marriage Equality Betrayal." In a scathing article (that mentions NAMBLA -- I kid you not) they noted:
INSTINCT MAGAZINE: In a letter to a Maryland constituent, Arora writes: “This has been an emotional debate on all sides, and my own views on the best way to achieve equality under the law for all Maryland families have evolved. The fact is that, before last year, I had not fully considered the issue of legislating same-sex marriage and how that corresponded with my understanding of marriage and legal parity. This gave me great pause and required me to wrestle with these issues in a way I never had before.”

There are so many things in this statement that just don’t add up.

He hadn’t fully considered the issue of legislating same-sex marriage before last year?

Then why put his name down as a co-sponsor on a gay marriage bill? Why campaign as a progressive pro-marriage equality candidate? Why fill out a 2010 questionnaire (viewable to the public no less), in which he endorses marriage equality?

Strange moves to make regarding such a hot button issue if he’d never given any real thought to his stance on this issue.

These things don’t add up because he’s a liar. Or he’s being blackmailed. Or both.

If he is being blackmailed, whatever someone’s got on him must be some scandalous business. Does Arora have a secret NAMBLA membership? Is there tape of him executing puppies?

The mind boggles.

CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT SAM ARORA = LIAR: Amazingly, a Maryland Juice source has emailed us further evidence that Sam Arora is a backstabbing liar. In newly released handwritten notes from Equality Maryland's candidate endorsement interview with Arora, we can see that he reiterated his support for marriage equality. Furthermore, Arora discussed his Baptist church's objections to marriage equality, indicating that he had, in fact, thought about these issues.

Previously, we've only seen the politician's Equality Maryland 2010 survey responses. The survey responses contained within are pretty clear evidence that Arora is a liar. But Arora's excuse is that he hadn't thought about it that hard when filling out that survey. The notes to Arora's candidate interview are pretty damning and indicate that his recent excuse is a lie. In fact, Equality Maryland's instructions to its candidate interviewers indicates that they were careful to double-check candidate support for marriage equality.

Below we publish full copies of Sam Arora's candidate survey, along with the notes from the interviewer at Sam's candidate interview. We also highlight two comments, in particular, from the Equality Maryland candidate interview notes:
QUESTION 1: Review candidate's specific answers to the trans bill and marriage bill questions on their questionnaire (see candidate data sheet you were emailed). Get candidate to re-iterate the commitment they made on the questionnaire so there is no misunderstanding about what they agreed to (either a vote for, or co-sponsorship).
  • NOTES ABOUT ARORA RESPONSE: "marriage equality - would co-sponsor this + transgender."  
QUESTION 10: Explain to the candidate that religious orgs have voiced, and will likely continue to voice, strong opinions (both pro and con) regarding our push for legislative change. Does candidate participate in a relgious community? If yes, what is the congregation? Is the congregation lgbt friendly? Is the religious leader lgbt friendly? (Important to know if candidate attends an overtly homophobic congregation - gauges their ability to be a public ally for us.)
  • NOTES ABOUT ARORA RESPONSE: "Attends Capitol Hill Baptist Church - isn't gay friendly. They define morality as sex w/in marriage. Unsure about leadership."

STILL WAITING FOR A REAL RESPONSE FROM SAM ARORA: These do not look like the responses of a candidate that has not thought about this issue. That excuse is a lie, and District 19 constituents should continue to expect a real response from temporary Delegate Sam Arora.

SUPPORT JAY HUTCHINS PLUS ONE: In the meantime, the runner-up to Sam Arora in the 2010 Democratic Primary has already announced he will seek a rematch in 2014. Check out Jay Hutchins' website: There is one important thing to note, though. Sam Arora represents Maryland's District 19, a three-member District currently represented by Sam, as well as Delegates Bonnie Cullison and Ben Kramer.

It appears as if Ben Kramer is trying to mount a bid for Montgomery County Executive in 2014. If that is true, then Bonnie Cullison and Jay Hutchins will need another strong candidate to run with in order to keep Sam out of the State House. Who is that Plus One?

Equality Maryland 2010 Candidate Interviews (Handwritten Notes): SAM ARORA

Equality Maryland 2010 Candidate Questionnaire Responses: SAM ARORA

No comments:

Post a Comment