A Maryland lawmaker who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage on Tuesday pleaded guilty to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.
Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel) entered the plea in connection with the August 2012 crash on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County that left him, two other adults and four children injured. He had faced charges of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent operation of a vessel, failing to register his boat and a rules-of-the-road violation.
WBAL Radio reported Anne Arundel District Court Judge Robert Wilcox rejected the plea deal Dwyer had reached with prosecutors that would have given him probation. He sentenced him to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.
Dwyer, 55, has been among Maryland’s most outspoken same-sex marriage opponents.
He argued before lawmakers approved the state’s same-sex marriage bill in February 2012 that the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public school students to homosexuality.
Dwyer in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The Anne Arundel County Republican also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler following his 2010 announcement the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.
Dwyer, who separated from his wife of 31 years in late 2011, told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del Tiffany Alston (D-Prince George’s County) and two Republican delegates who voted for the same-sex marriage bill contributed to his alcohol abuse.
“That betrayal really affected me,” he said. “I was physically ill. You pour your heart into an issue like that and it’s devastating.”
Dwyer, who remains in an alcohol abuse treatment program, will not have to resign under Maryland law because the crime to which he pleaded guilty was unrelated to his legislative duties.
He will remain free pending the outcome of an appeal of Wilcox’s sentence his attorney filed after he received his sentence.