Anti-Gay Comments Change MD Lawmaker’s Vote

A common strategy used by the religious right to demonize gays and lesbians is to compare them to pedophiles and paint them as sexual deviants who recruit children to their “lifestyle.” Even Rick Warren has compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia. These canards have long been effective, though the tide may finally be turning.

After getting a daylong earful of hateful speech against gays and lesbians during a hearing on the bill, one Maryland lawmaker—Democratic Sen. Jim Brochin—who had been planning to vote against a marriage equality bill pending in state Senate now says he’ll vote for the measure.

“I walked into committee and what I heard from the opposition to the bill was appalling,” Brochin said. “It was disgusting. I heard that homosexuals and same-sex couples were androids. I heard that they were pedophiles. I just heard hate and venom coming out of that hearing for eight hours.”

The measure now has 21 supporters of the 24 it will need to pass. If it succeeds, Equality Maryland says there are enough votes for it to pass the House of Delegates, and Gov. Martin O’Malley has signaled his willingness to make it law.

Before his change of heart, Brochin had planned to introduce a civil union amendment to the bill, and says he still will. But when that amendment fails, he says, he’ll “vote for gay marriage.” “I’m not going to be part of the vilification of gays on the Senate floor,” Brochin said. “I’m uncomfortable with the word ‘marriage’ but I am much more uncomfortable with the vilification of gays and homosexuality.”

It’s nice to finally see a politician who’s willing to see through the scare tactics of the religious right and instead focus on the humanity of gay and lesbian people. Wouldn’t it be nice if every politician became uncomfortable when minority groups are vilified by the majority—and then refused to vote to deny minorities their rights? Whatever would the religious right do to oppress gays and lesbians?