Maryland Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) has some explaining to do. Problem is, he doesn’t return reporters’ calls and refuses to give his constituents straight answers as to why he flip-flopped on marriage equality. His penchant for lying has also gotten in the way of the truth.
Arora infamously voted against last year’s marriage bill in Maryland after campaigning on a pledge to support it. He even co-sponsored the bill. So he took gay money and votes in progressive Montgomery County, then voted against the very bill he sponsored.
Of course, politicians are entitled to change their minds. President Obama famously “evolved” on the issue too, though in a much more sensible direction than Arora. But when they change their views, politicians owe their constituents an explanation, as Obama did in his interview with Robin Roberts. Did Arora have a religious epiphany? We don’t know because he won’t level with us.
The Blade has tried since last year to talk to Arora, but he has steadfastly ignored or refused all interview requests, including one made just last week. Last month, Arora made his first public comments on the issue.
“A lot of us wanted the goal of full legal equality for all couples,” Arora said during a Jan. 8 segment of NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt in response to a question from David Moon of Maryland Juice, a website that covers state politics. “We had different ways of getting there. Ultimately the governor’s bill passed, the voters approved it and I think one thing we can all celebrate is that gay and lesbian couples will have all the same legal rights as straight couples have and the state’s going to move forward now and there’s a lot more to it.”
During the interview, Arora referenced an amendment he introduced that would have replaced marriage with civil unions in the bill. Sorry, Sam, but civil unions do not constitute “full legal equality” — just ask New Jersey about that.
He insists he now wants to “move forward,” a premature quest given his failure to fully answer the many open questions surrounding his betrayal. You can’t ask voters and donors to “move forward” simply because you don’t want to answer tough questions. Sam Arora is a liar and a coward who should have already resigned from office. Politicians can change their minds, but they cannot hide from voters, dodge the media and refuse to answer the most basic questions about their public policy positions.
Maryland voters are entitled to answers. Arora thinks he’s above providing those answers. The only response is for someone to mount a challenge in 2014 and take him out of office. All the LGBT donors and volunteers who helped put Arora in office must now start the work of replacing this two-faced scumbag.
On Obama, Jodie and Manti Te’O
It’s been a busy month for LGBT news. President Obama made history (again) by including gay references in his inaugural speech — the first time that’s happened. It was yet another striking example of how Obama has completely transformed the Democratic Party’s approach to LGBT issues. Whereas Democrats used to pay lip service to our concerns, Obama has acted boldly and finally delivered where so many others (Bill Clinton, John Kerry and on and on) failed. Thank you, Mr. President, for seeing the connections between Stonewall and Selma and for forcing your party to finally get on the right side of history.
In less celebratory news, lesbian actress Jodie Foster made news recently by delivering an odd Golden Globes speech in which she took to a TV broadcast seen in countries around the world to seek privacy. Hmm. She again played coy about her sexual orientation. Newsflash, Jodie: The world has moved on and no longer cares about your cowardly efforts to hide the obvious truth. We live in a more enlightened time now, where our president backs marriage equality and an open lesbian sits in the U.S. Senate. Please retire and spare us your awkward ruminations on sexuality and privacy.
And finally, there’s the odd story of Notre Dame’s Manti Te’O. Katie Couric asked him if he’s gay and he replied, “No, far from it. Far from it.” Many closeted gays have used “beards” to please disapproving family members or to preserve our jobs. Is Manti gay? We don’t know, but this bizarre episode serves as a reminder that professional sports remains one of the few bastions of intolerance — a place so unwelcoming to gays that there still isn’t a single out athlete in the major four professional team sports. That barrier will fall someday soon, just as it did for the military with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” for the U.S. Congress with Tammy Baldwin’s victory and for big business with the ascension of Tim Cook to CEO at Apple.
Kevin Naff is editor of the Washington Blade. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.