Baltimore Delegate Holding MD Marriage Equality Bill Hostage?

A Maryland General Assembly delegate who is the key vote need to advance the marriage equality bill out of the House Judiciary Committee is holding the bill hostage, the Baltimore Sun reports:

Carter Del. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, said she is reluctant to vote on legislation that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples until other issues, including a child custody bill and education funding, gain traction in the General Assembly this year.

Carter was one of two delegates supportive of gay marriage who staged a walkout this morning during a specially scheduled vote on the marriage proposal — which has already cleared the Senate and had been expected to make it out of the House committee today.

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.

As of an hour ago, Equality Maryland was still urging folks to call delegatesin support of the bill (1-800-492-7122). In particular, I have read that Sam Arora from District 19 is hedging on the vote.

The Sun says it's unclear whether a vote will take place this evening, but Carter is using the moment to gain traction on other issues for her constituents:

Carter said there's no need to "fast-track" gay marriage since the 90-day session is only about half over and lawmakers are in their first year of a four-year term.

She said she is "absolutely" willing to take a hit for withdrawing her support on gay marriage if it makes a larger point about her favored issues.

Other folks tweeting from the House say there will not be a vote tonight and it has not been rescheduled. Apparently still a very fluid situation…


  1. Ty says

    And here’s the Susan Collins of Maryland. I’m not surprised – everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame. And sadly, it’s costing the gays and lesbians their rights.

  2. Fred says

    The point is that the best interests of one group should not be denied or held hostage in order to further the best interests of another group. This woman is purely playing power politics and it saddens me enormously that she fails to recognize that the GLBT community has been waiting for years for an opportunity at equality. It smacks of cruelty for her to deny these rights in order to get her own way.

  3. says


    it isn’t exactly her own way (though all politics is exactly like that), teachers need to get paid, school rents need to get covered, textbooks for kids in her area

    its quite a few people’s way

  4. Bryan says

    I’d like to tell Del. Carter personally how remarkable I find the inability of her and her ilk to manage more than one issue at a time.

    I don’t know anyone in the private sector who could do less than three and remain employed. Does she hold her position under some Maryland statute requiring employment of the mentally handicapped?

  5. says

    I don’t disagree with her.

    And it humors me that people say they wouldn’t use an opportunity to push their interests through.

    She’ll get something she wants (which both seem to be righteous causes) and then she’ll help the cause.

    Seems fair to me.

  6. Francis says

    Mark, that makes her not a real proponent for equality. Her equality support has to be bought, essentially. She clearly doesn’t give one iota of a damn about us, we aren’t a priority or anything of importance in her eyes. She is willing to single-handedly destroy marriage equality in Maryland just so she can, what, get attention? Is she on that much of a diva mode? She is willing to play games with our rights and our lives just for her own political life. She’s nasty. Politicians always make it all about them, when this is not about them at all, and it’s never been. If she needs to be bought or influenced into doing the right thing, clearly she ain’t anyone to look highly upon at all.

  7. says

    those who are all in a tissy

    This is a perfect PR move available for gay groups in MD

    They shoudl side with her and push for fast traking education funding

    show the gay community of MD in support of schools/ MD school age children’s welfare as vs the repubs who will push to slow down both

    think proactively people

  8. Bryan says

    Dear Delegate Carter:

    I am writing to you on behalf of myself and other LGBT citizens of Maryland, where I was born.

    If I understand correctly from recent media coverage, this morning you walked out of a specially scheduled vote on marriage equality in protest that it’s been given a higher priority on the legislative agenda than other issues which you consider more deserving. I am frankly appalled at the hostage-taking cynicism and general lack of seriousness indicated by this action, and ask you to cease playing political games with the civil rights of nearly 400,000 Marylanders. I am also saddened yet again to see a member of one minority display such indifference to the civil rights of another.

    I have no doubt that you face many demands on your time and are forced to make difficult choices when setting priorities. However, when working in the private sector, it’s common and even essential to be able to pursue multiple goals simultaneously without sacrificing one at the expense of another. I expect at least that much from my elected representatives. I hope also that you will consider that supporting the liberty and self respect of LGBT Marylanders deserves a very high priority, and that you are setting an example which will have a profound effect on the welfare of LGBT Americans and even those beyond our national borders, some of whom are currently suffering heinous persecution.

    I read that your primary concerns are child custody and education – the welfare of children. I wish to take this opportunity to remind you that approximately 7% of children are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. My childhood and adolescence occurred in a hell of self hatred, and at 16 I attempted suicide within a 40 minute drive of your office. I can’t overemphasize to you how important it is that LGBT kids grow up knowing that their culture affords them the same rights, respect, and chance at happiness enjoyed by other citizens.

    Del. Carter, you are on the brink of betraying my trust in you and your office. Given your past record, I find this difficult to understand, and I hope you will reconsider your decision and support marriage equality for all citizens of Maryland to the utmost of your ability. It’s truly a matter of life and death.

    etc., etc.

  9. says

    There are gay couples who have been waiting DECADES to legally marry their partners and she thinks it’s not fair that this has been “fast tracked” …???? Give me a break! Let the people get their EQUAL RIGHTS!

  10. CKNJ says

    @ mstrozfckslv while you may have a partial point, we have to wonder if she would have held up education legislation if the that vote was fast tracked, not the gay vote? I wager she would not. I want to hear her answer that. She is just another damn grand-stander!

  11. Chitown Kev says

    @Ty- Exactly.

    If I can be Machavellian here for a minute…

    As I have said before, remember that 30% of Maryland’s is black.

    Also remember that there will be a hard fought referendum on this issue.

    And you know that the homobigots will bring it.

    Cut this deal with her and no black homobigot can use the excuse that “oh, the gays never did anything for us.”

    You could throw this deal and that claim right back in their face. And I would back you up if you did that.

    Also…cutting this deal might…just might…make a significant difference between winning and losing on the upcoming referendum.

    Cut the goddamned deal.

  12. Francis says

    Of course you do the deal if that what it takes, but the fact is, Maryland gays have been waiting years upon years for marriage equality. Pro-equality legislators are there ready to sign this. And she’s potentially going to ruin all of that, because she wants attention. We shouldn’t be put in that position to cater to her, because that ultimately makes it all about her which is what she wants. It’s sick.

  13. candideinnc says

    No one is against “education” or “fair custody rights,” and this b*tch knows it. But she is perfectly happy to sacrifice a once in a decade chance for gay people to achieve a level of equality that is altogether opposed by tons of bigots across her state. The vile words I have for her cr*p are unprintable. This isn’t politics, this is a power play by an unprinciples piece os slime.

  14. candideinnc says

    Oh, by the way, I will encourage every politician in Maryland to vote against your pet projects and pay for a real Democrat to run against you if you keep this up. It’s a “friends like that, who needs…” situation.

  15. says

    ……I like the way she plays. Politics is a game and she’s playing it openly. I would pick education over marriage as well. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about gay rights. But it means I’m tired of dumb kids growing up to be even dumber adults.

  16. Scot says

    You know what? I don’t want to get married right now. I might in the future and it would be nice if I can then. I know alot of people want marrage equality now and that’s understandable. What I want now, RIGHT NOW, is to know that I can’t be fired from my job or evicted from my apartment or be denied medical treatment because I’m gay. Those are the rights, or lack thereof, that effect more gay people than marriage equality. I wish more people would stop thinking that marriage equality is the be all/end all for gays in this country. Married gays and lesbians can still be fired, evicted or denied medical treatment simply for being gay.
    And don’t give me that baby steps crap either. These concerns are more paramount for ALL gays than one right for a handful out of millions of gay people.
    That’s my 2 cents, for what its worth.

  17. Jason says


    In Maryland, you CANNOT be be fired from your job or evicted from your apartment or be denied medical treatment because you are gay. We have protections in place already for those things. So, it would make no sense for us to push for those rights here, since we already have them. Marriage equality is our current battle here.

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