WASHINGTON – He was lobbied by former President Bill Clinton and actor Kal Penn, but no one knew for sure how Maryland Delegate Sam Arora would vote on a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state until the very last minute.
Arora’s decision to vote “no” has infuriated constituents and same-sex marriage supporters from across the country. It’s led to an online petition calling on him to resign, and it prompted his Legislative Director, Joshua Lapidus, to quit on the spot.
Since his vote, Arora has been silent. He hasn’t issued a statement to the media and colleagues say he has not reached out to them.
The blog Maryland Juice, in an entry titled “Harry and Kumar Go To Annapolis,” details tweets from Penn urging Arora to cast a yes vote for same sex marriage.
Below is a sampling of tweets between Penn and Lapidus:
Arora’s was the lone “no” vote in the Montgomery County delegation. Senator Jamie Raskin says Arora’s vote will certainly create political difficulties for the young lawmaker, especially because Arora campaigned as a progressive, offered to co-sponsor a bill on same-sex marriage, and then backed away from that position.
“I’ve not heard that his political career is toast, or anything like that, but if you don’t think he’s going to have some serious challengers in the next election, you’re too innocent to be let out of the house by yourself,” he says.
Fellow Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur, one of seven gay members of the Maryland House, says she has not heard from Arora since his vote.
“It wasn’t a surprise. We had a lot of heart-to-heart conversations, and I knew of Sam’s struggle to reconcile his head and his heart on this issue,” she says.
Delegate Anne Kaiser, another gay member of the House of Delegates, says Arora’s flip-flop on the issue greatly damages his credibility.
“The one lesson they taught us in Annapolis when you first take office is the one thing that you have is your word,” she says.
WTOP has contacted Arora’s office. He did not immediately respond.