August 20, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Anti-gay Maryland lawmaker charged with DUI
Don Dwyer, Maryland, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County)

Anne Arundel County police early on Tuesday arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol a Maryland lawmaker who vehemently opposes same-sex marriage.

A police report that WBAL in Baltimore obtained said officers stopped state Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel County) on Route 100 near Edwin Raynor Boulevard in Pasadena at 12:42 a.m. It said Dwyer told officers he had had two beers earlier in the night at a tavern in Baltimore City.

The police report said the officer who arrested Dwyer “immediately noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath and person.” It also noted Dwyer’s speech was “very slow and slurred.”

Dwyer also failed three field sobriety tests.

Dwyer faces a charge of driving while impaired and other traffic offenses that include driving with an expired registration.

Dwyer, 55, said before state lawmakers approved a same-sex marriage bill in February 2012 the legalization of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Massachusetts in 2004 indoctrinated the commonwealth’s public students to homosexuality.

The Anne Arundel County Republican in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch after she found Maryland’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Dwyer also sought to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is expected to declare his candidacy to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2014, after he announced in 2010 the state would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

Dwyer links alcohol abuse to marriage vote

Dwyer’s arrest comes nearly a year to the day after a boat he was operating crashed into another vessel on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County. The incident left him, two other adults and four children injured.

Dwyer in May pleaded guilty to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol. He was to have served probation under a plea bargain he reached with prosecutors, but an Anne Arundel County judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

Dwyer appealed the sentence, but entered a second guilty plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court early this month. A retired judge from Harford County who was brought in is scheduled to sentence Dwyer in October.

The Anne Arundel Republican told the Maryland Gazette in January that then-Del. Tiffany Alston of 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,” Dwyer told the newspaper. “I was physically ill.”

Neither Dwyer nor his office immediately returned the Washington Blade’s request for comment.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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