Maryland's march toward marriage equality seemed all but assured when the bill passed the Senate last week. It was presumed the House would be no problem. Then reports began to leak out that the House vote might be closer than expected.
Yesterday, a critical vote in the committee failed to go as expected when two delegates failed to show for the vote. Among them, Delegate Jill Carter, from WBAL-TV's website:
Delegate Jill Carter, D-Baltimore, said she skipped the vote because she wants $15 million in funding restored to Baltimore schools and passage of her bill to more evenly divide child custody for divorced parents.
The Baltimore Sun reports Ms. Carter as saying she's got more important things to do than help deliver equality to Maryland residents:
But Carter said there are “more important, or at least equally important” issues that she would like to see fast-tracked in the way that, in her view, gay marriage has been. And she said that until she hears from House leadership, she does not plan to cast a committee vote in favor of the Civil Marriage Protection Act.
What's really going on in Maryland? Is it possible that an out-of-state special interest group is meddling in the local politics? Has National Organization for Marriage been twisting arms? Reports are coming in that Delegates in the House are collaborating in distributing materials from known hate groups.
Concerned parties might be inclined to ask Ms. Carter who exactly is setting her priorities for her? An well-funded, out-of-state special interest hate group? Or her concern for Maryland citizens?
Baltimore Sun has some words to say about Ms. Carter, and they ain't pretty. They suspect her “hostage taking” make succeed, but reccomend against it, and conclude she has earned herself a spot in “political infamy” for her “gay marriage tantrum. Some highlights, from their editorial page:
To condemn her action runs the perverse risk of encouraging her bad behavior.
But what she did brings disrepute not just on herself but on the entire effort to enact this legislation.
Ms. Carter left the House Judiciary Committee's voting session today and demanded that legislative leaders fast-track two other causes, an effort to restore education funding and a divorce-custody bill she is sponsoring, before she would return to cast what would be the decisive vote in bringing the marriage bill to the House floor. That self-aggrandizing action shows a deluded sense of her importance that will do her no favors in her efforts to support other causes or in her future campaigns for office.
But more damagingly, it reduces legislation about fundamental human rights — legislation she co-sponsored — to petty horse trading.
There is no question that legislative leaders should not and will not accede to her demands. They cannot negotiate with a hostage-taker.