Democratic legislators flee… SAME-SEX MARRIAGE bill? [Fixed.]
Apparently. Maryland has been trying to pass a same-sex marriage (SSM) bill for years – the last time they tried, its failure was a genuine shock to SSM supporters – and it did look like the latest version (HB 55, the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act”) would pass once it made it through the MD Senate (barely) last week. But before it could goes to the House it has to get through their Judiciary Committee… and on Tuesday two critical Democrats refused to show up for the meeting, thus making the vote impossible. It will probably surprise nobody here to read that both Democrats (Tiffany Allston, Jill Carter) are African-Americans who represent African-American districts; it might surprise some to hear that both are co-sponsors of HB 55. I called the Maryland Assembly this morning: they confirmed that the bill is still stuck in committee, which means (among other things) that possibly Rep. Allston hasn’t made up her mind yet after all. Or is just worried that her constituents won’t change their minds anytime soon.
This is not actually funny, although I concede that people opposed to SSM may legitimately beg to differ with me on that. Neither is it a case of ends justifying means – and I will not concede that differing on that is legitimate. The Republic will survive the establishment or non-establishment of same-sex marriages in one or many or all states. What it cannot survive is the establishment of the ‘principle’ that participating in the democratic process requires you to continue to participate [only when you are winning]*. If Rep. Allston’s and Rep. Carter’s constituents don’t like HB 55, then those two legislators need to decide whether they agree with their constituents or not. If they do, they should vote no. If they don’t, they should vote yes.
Either way, Allston and Carter can then deal with the consequences that come from making a choice – a choice, by the way, that they implicitly volunteered to make by running for office. These two are no different in spirit than the state Democrats from Indiana and Wisconsin who are hiding out rather than do their jobs, and they should be treated accordingly.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*[I had somebody point out that I mangled this point horribly. Corrected, and my bad.]