Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Baltimore Democrat Sabotages Maryland Marriage Equality Vote

Md. Delegate Jill Carter
Leave it to a democrat to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Just as the Maryland House of Delegates was about to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage Tuesday, Delegate Jill Carter (D-Baltimore) decided there were more pressing issues to address and abruptly left the session.

The Washington Blade reports:
Del. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City), a co-sponsor of the marriage bill, walked out on a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning, taking away a vote supporters needed to pass the legislation and send it to the floor of the House of Delegates.

Another member of the committee, Del. Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County), who also supports the marriage bill, did not show up for the committee’s morning session.

Carter told the Baltimore Sun that Alston joined her in staying away from what had been expected to be a vote in favor of the same-sex marriage bill as a means of gaining “leverage” for other, unrelated issues such as restoring proposed cuts in school funding in their respective districts.

Backers of the Civil Marriage Protection Act have only enough support on the committee to pass the bill by a one-vote margin.

Del. Joseph Vallario (D-Prince George’s County), chair of the committee, initially rescheduled the vote on the marriage bill for later in the day, after the committee held a public hearing on as many as 16 other bills. But at the end of the committee’s session, Carter made it known she was not ready to vote for the bill, even though she said she supports it.

Carter noted that it’s still relatively early in the legislative session and other bills, in addition to the marriage bill, should be placed on the fast track.

Supporters of the marriage bill, which passed in the Maryland Senate last week, initially planned to hold off on a vote in the House until toward the end of the legislative session in April. But they moved up the vote to this week after determining a furious campaign against it by opponents might lead to the erosion of support.
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