Tuesday, March 22, 2011

College Dems at Del. Arora's Alma Mater Slam Sam

Statement by Columbia University College Democrats

Like so many throughout Maryland and across the nation, the Columbia University College Democrats were shocked and disappointed that the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act had to be recommitted to the Judiciary Committee on March 11 after it was determined that it would fall a handful of votes short of passage. hough we have high hopes that the bill will pass next year, we cannot help but Bemoan the frustrating pace of progress. Our sympathy goes out to the thousands of Marylanders who were hoping to become full citizens this year.

As an organization committed to advancing marriage equality in New York and nationwide, we eagerly followed the campaign of Sam Arora last year, not only because of his active outreach to LGBT organizations and constituencies, but because of his strong record of activism that dates back to his days at our university. We were so proud when one of our own was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.

After witnessing Delegate Arora’s wavering during the course of this debate—which surely contributed to the momentum that ultimately doomed the bill’s chances for this year—we cannot keep our disapproval to ourselves. Though he eventually reaffirmed his intention to vote for the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, Delegate Arora’s actions (which included supporting an amendment that would allow private agencies to deny adoption rights to same-sex couples and advocating a referendum that would put the rights of LGBT citizens up for a popular vote) betrayed the commitment he made to Marylanders during his campaign and demonstrated a disregard for the dignity of the many LGBT people whom he represents.

The Columbia University College Democrats call on Delegate Arora to reach out to his LGBT constituents—and the many other individuals and organizations who supported him—to reaffirm his commitment to equality. We expect Delegate Arora to use his remaining time left in office to vigorously advocate for the rights of LGBT Marylanders, including voting for the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. We hope Delegate Arora will make his alma mater proud. Primary season is just around
the corner.