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 firstname.lastname@example.org.