With a vote of 72 to 67, Maryland’s House of Delegates passed legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in the Free State. The measure will now move to the state Senate, where it passed last year. Early indications are the measure could see a vote by midweek.
Even as the bill moved the floor of the House last week, it was unclear whether the votes were there to pass the measure. With a key supporter in the hospital, the late support of a few members became key. Though the bill still must pass in the Senate and it is likely to face a petition challenge and a referendum in November, there are a few folks who warrant specific recognition for the role they played in the House vote: Dels. John Bohanan and A. Wade Kach and Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.
Del. John Bohanan (District 29B)
Bohanan stands out from most other supporters in significant ways. Bohanan represents southern St. Mary’s county. This is the fastest growing county in the state and home to the Patuxent Naval Air station. The large military presence has steadily changed the political dynamic of the county. Once a solidly Democratic area (in local elections), St. Mary’s has been trending Republican. Since 2008, the GOP has added 4,000 voters to its roles — twice that of the Democrats. At present, Democrats and Republicans claim an equal share of voters. In 2010, Republicans swept all but one seat on the county commission and Bohanan won a narrow re-election against a very novice challenger. For Bohanan, the safe bet would have been to vote against same-sex marriage. He would have paid no penalty. When asked about his decision to support the bill, Bohanan said, “Once I began to look at this through the eyes of my own kids and other young people, it became pretty clear. ... You want them to have love, and if that’s how they want to express it, you want them to be able to do it openly.” Bohanan is likely to see serious political fallout in his home district. What he deserves is recognition for making the right call in an era when too many politicians care only about winning the next election.
[Continue reading Todd Eberly’s post at The FreeStater Blog.]
Todd Eberly blogs at The FreeStaterBlog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.