WASHINGTON -- Although marriage equality legislation cleared the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday and is anticipated to be green-lighted by the state Senate this week, there may be some unfinished business in Annapolis' lower legislative chamber: Del. Sam Arora.
The freshman Montgomery County Democrat, who campaigned on a progressive platform in 2010 and has been supportive of gay rights, voted against the bill that would allow same-sex marriage rights in the Free State.
Arora, who worked on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, had been heavily lobbied by his Democratic colleagues in Maryland, including Gov. Martin O'Malley, and heavy hitters outside the state like former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
Even actor Kal Penn called Arora.
Penn also lobbied Arora's legislative director, Josh Lapidus, who subsequently resigned in protest because of Arora's vote.
Now the LGBT community and its supporters want Arora out of Maryland politics.As AmericaBlog's Jon Aravosis put it following Friday's vote:
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 ... about the best way, legally and politically, to move ahead with ending Arora's career, starting with his next election.
Arora's vote was being closely watched ever since his "no" vote on marriage equality legislation last year surprised many of Arora's supporters and his colleagues in Maryland politics. At the time, gay rights activists called Arora's "no" vote an act of betrayal.As Aravosis blogged last week before the House of Delegates vote, ratcheting up the pressure on Arora:
I can think of little better for a young politician looking to his future in Maryland Democratic politics (what other politics is there in Maryland?) than to ingratiate himself to the Democratic governor and party, and to one of the most powerful and tenacious constituencies in the Democratic base, the gay community.
Sam Arora has been given a rare gift in politics -- the chance to do it all over again and wipe the slate clean.
As WTOP reports, Arora has been silent since Friday's vote.
"It wasn't a surprise," the radio station quotes openly gay Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County). "We had a lot of heart-to-heart conversations, and I knew of Sam's struggle to reconcile his head and his heart on this issue," she said.
Photo of Sam Arora by Flickr user MDFriendofHillary