Talk about being on the wrong side of history. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, and delegate Sam Arora of Maryland, are stubbornly clinging on to their political homophobia like a life raft as the winds of change blow them further out to sea.
In the case of Chris Christie, today he vetoed a marriage equality bill that passed both bodies of the state legislature, fulfilling his promise to do so in spite of popular approval to extend full marriage rights to same-sex couples, instead of the current separate and unequal in reality civil unions.
Christie, a Republican, insisted the issue was so important “it should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide.”
The governor said he continued “to encourage the legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change.”
A referendum by New Jersey citizens, as opposed to their representatives in state government, he said, was “the only path to amend our state constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.”
What garbage — so in Christie’s world (largely focusing on the chance that he will be on a Romney ticket as VP or a mover and shaker in 2016) civil rights should be determined at the ballot box. As if to enforce the idea that he thinks civil unions can still be salvaged as a compromise, he proposed the creation of a “civil union ombudsman.” Steven Goldstein, Chair, Garden State Equality found this laughably offensive.
“In vetoing the marriage equality bill, Governor Christie’s offer to create a civil union ombudsman is the very essence of the political theatre he decries.
“How in the world would a civil union ombudsman enforce the civil union law for New Jersey couples who work in New York, a state that recognizes marriage equality – would New York State actually deputize a New Jersey civil union ombudsman to work within its own borders? How in the world would a civil union ombudsman deal with the children being raised by same-sex couples – children stigmatized at school by questions about the perceived inferiority of their families because of the second-class civil union label? How in the world would a civil union ombudsman deal with the assault on the dignity faced by civil union couples by hospitals and employers who understand the civil union law perfectly well – but sneer at the relationship of couples who aren’t married?
“A civil union ombudsman might well be the country’s first-ever Enforcer of Discrimination – and worse. A civil union ombudsman is nothing more than the shameless dressing up of a veto of people’s dignity and equality – the equivalent of gold-plating a separate water fountain for a specific class of people.”
When and if any referendum on marriage equality comes to pass (unlikely since the legislature has until 2014 to override his veto), he may find himself one of the few people in the Garden State actually voting no, but the dumb@ss needs to think about the drubbing he will take at the ballot box if he decides to run for re-election for his current job.
And perhaps more onerous is the case of Sam Arora, who ran on a marriage equality platform, which opened the wallet$ of the LGBT community, only to reverse his position. Today was one of the “no” votes when the Maryland House of Delegates voted 71-67 to pass the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012. (Metro Weekly):
On Twitter, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.), wrote, “Today, the House of Delegates voted for human dignity. Love is an unalienable right. At its heart, their votes were votes for Maryland’s children.”
He added: “Now, as the Senate prepares to vote, all of us are needed & we’re prepared to redouble our efforts.”
Among the Democrats voting against the bill in the House was Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County), who had run on a platform that included support for marriage equality but enraged activists in 2011 by opposing the bill when it was being considered. Although advocates had been pushing for him to support the bill this year, he voted “nay” tonight.
If he thought he would benefit politically by holding fast to his homophobia, Mr. Sam “gay-$hakedown homophobe” Arora is sadly mistaken. John Aravosis, Americablog:
Regardless of what Arora is hiding in his political closet, his career in Democratic politics is over. A number of high-level Democratic political operatives in DC are talking this evening about the best way, legally and politically, to move ahead with ending Arora’s career, starting with his next election. We’ve taken down bigger bigots than a Maryland House delegate. If he thinks he’s going to survive in Democratic politics as a known homophobe, and someone who poked his finger in the eyes of Bill Clinton, Terry McAuliffe and Maryland Governor O’Malley… well, good luck with that.
More from Democratic political consultant Karl Frisch, a former friend and supporter of Arora’s:
“Discrimination against gay and lesbian couples is one step closer to being over in Maryland. The same can be said for Sam’s career in politics.”
“I’ve already been asked by several high level national and Maryland Democratic operatives to join a call tonight to discuss strategies for sending Sam packing. We — and by we, I mean many people who helped elect our former equality supporting friend — will do whatever it takes. Nothing will be left off the table.”
Enjoy the next few years in politics, Sam. They’ll be your last in elected office.