March 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm EDT | by Kevin Naff
Md. marriage bill in jeopardy

To say that Maryland Del. Jill Carter, a Baltimore Democrat, is no profile in courage would be a massive understatement.

At a time when her colleagues on both sides of the aisle have debated the often-contentious issue of marriage equality with restraint, Carter today bailed on a committee vote and essentially took her ball and went home.

The House Judiciary Committee was set to vote to advance the marriage equality bill to the floor; it has already passed in the Senate. Carter, who represents the deciding vote in committee, abandoned the session and is trying to force her colleagues into acting on two of her own pet bills before agreeing to a vote on marriage.

This is beyond petty politics. Carter co-sponsored the bill. Now she’s threatening to kill it unless she gets her way on two unrelated matters. It’s a reprehensible publicity stunt that will hurt her in the long run.

Carter’s outrageously selfish act calls into question the House leadership’s role in lining up the votes. Unlike the Senate, where gay Sen. Rich Madaleno took charge of the marriage effort and successfully and professionally shepherded it to passage, no one has stepped up in a similar capacity on the House side.

Now would be a good time for one of the six gay and lesbian House members to rally the troops and push the measure over the top. Dels. Maggie McIntosh and Heather Mizeur, in particular, have the experience and the respect of their peers to get it done. Madaleno has shown the way. It’s time for bold leadership from our LGBT Caucus before this momentous opportunity is wasted.

Shame on Del. Carter. She must feel mighty powerful withholding fundamental civil rights from thousands of Marylanders. But her immature grandstanding is a colossal mistake she will regret. Let’s hope she comes to her senses after hearing from angry constituents and donors. You can contact her at 800-492-7122, x3283 or at

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

  • Del Carter is a Christian… But she wants to sell her vote for $15,000,000.00 for her project. Judas sold Jesus for 15 pieces of silver….

  • Way to go Jill Carter. I didn’t think there was anything worse than a far right wing, bigoted republican. But there is something worse, a democrate with an ego and her own petty selfish agenda. She needs to remember, it’s not about her, it’s about the people whose lives depend on her.

  • Delgate Carter said today that she hopes people don’t get mad at her for her vote. That is enough reason for people to make sure she doesn’t get elected again whichever way she votes. There is something called leadership and a moral responsibility to take a stand if you are an elected official. Obviously Ms. Carter knows nothing about that. I would hope she will eventually come down on the side of decensy and equality for all people but she is already a loser on all sides by not having the guts to say where she stands and speaking out and telling people why. She is a loser already in my book by equating a person’s civil and human rights with a funding bill. She must be an embarassment to her constituents.

  • Mr. Rosenstein and others,

    There is such a thing as leadership and moral responsibility – she’s leading on behalf of the larger community of Baltimore children whose schools faced a $15 million cut. That’s not a petty, selfish agenda (and keep in mind in the HoD all 141 delegates rightly have their own agendas sometimes removed from party), it is a stand I and many of her constituents (gay and straight) are proud she made.

    And on the issue of trying to vote her out, I would note that in the last three elections she has won the most votes of any city delegate in both the primary and general elections. In the 41st district any primary candidate would have to get past Oaks AND Rosenberg before Carter would even be mildly threatened – and given her broad support I’m confident she would never shirk from a challenge.

    “She is a loser already in my book by equating a person’s civil and human rights with a funding bill.”

    If we’re talking rights, what of the right of a child to a fully funded school?

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