July 20, 2012 | by Steve Charing
Ruppersberger undecided on marriage

Dutch Ruppersberger, gay news Washington Blade

“This is very difficult for me,” Dutch Ruppersberger said. “I had supported civil [unions] but there are religious issues [about marriage] that make it hard. But I also have to look at discrimination.”

On a night the Columbia Democratic Club unanimously passed a resolution supporting marriage equality, Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, who was a guest speaker, remained noncommittal. “This is very difficult for me,” Ruppersberger, a moderate five-term Democrat, said in response to a question from the Blade on his position. “I had supported civil [unions] but there are religious issues [about marriage] that make it hard. But I also have to look at discrimination.” The meeting took place on July 11.

Ruppersberger, who previously did not respond to a Blade survey on the marriage referendum, said he is “moving slowly in the direction you would like” but is undecided at this time. He mentioned that he has sought counsel from a number of constituents as well as his family on both sides of the issue. Among the opponents are African-American pastors from large churches who are “dead set against gay marriage.” He promised to disclose how he would vote when he eventually reached a decision.

Ruppersberger’s 2nd Congressional District includes parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties as well as a small portion of Baltimore City. He noted that Harford County and the Baltimore County areas of Dundalk and Essex are particularly conservative, and support for same-sex marriage would not go over well. Nonetheless, it’s still an open issue for him.

Republican State Sen. Nancy Jacobs (Harford), who stepped down from her leadership position to run for Congress, is a likely opponent in November. She has one of the most anti-LGBT voting records in the legislature and is a leader in opposing same-sex marriage.

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