To hear the anti-gay folks talk, gay marriage has been responsible for a lot. Natural disasters, gun crimes, you name it. Now one state delegate is claiming that Maryland’s gay marriage vote played a big part in him crashing his powerboat in an incident that injured four children.
The Maryland lawmaker in question, Delegate Don Dwyer, who is an Anne Arundel County Republican, has kept a relatively low profile since the incident on August 22 of last year when Dwyer’s powerboat collided with that of Mark Harbin’s on the Magothy River. Harbin had been out water-tubing with his grandchildren and neighbors. Four of the children were injured in the crash. It later emerged that alcohol was found on Dwyer’s boat and Dwyer soon confessed to having been drinking before the incident occurred.
Speaking to the Maryland Gazette, Dwyer contends that the media sensationalized the story but admits that he does indeed have a drinking problem, saying that two things played a big part in increasing his drinking by “100%”: estrangement from his wife, and failing to block Maryland’s gay marriage legislation.
Dwyer says he felt sold out when Dels. Tiffany Alston, Wade Kach and Bob Costa voted for same-sex marriage, an issue he spent years crusading against.
Kach, a Republican from Baltimore County, and Alston, a former Democrat from Prince George’s County, voted against the bill in committee. But Kach changed his vote after hearing testimony from gay couples. Alston shifted her vote after her amendment was adopted.
Kach and Costa, of Deale, were the only two House Republicans to vote for the bill. It passed the House by two votes in February.
“I had no time to do anything,” Dwyer said. “Had I known earlier, I could have taken some action.”
“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 has maintained, however, that he is not responsible for the crash and hopes that, following his recovery (he’s now in rehab) he may still win re-election — that is, after the results of the boating accident court case are known later this year.
Delegate Dwyer’s very public, and nautical, fall from grace, and his now appearing to partially blame the gay marriage vote, are notable given that Dwyer had made a career out of aggressively trying to block gay rights progress. For instance, he had very publicly decried the 2004 Massachusetts ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, stating that it indoctrinated kids in the state into accepting homosexuality.
As the Washington Blade also points out, Dwyer in 2006 tried to remove Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdoch from the bench after she concluded that Maryland’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, a tactic he tried again when he attempted to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler after Gansler decided in 2010 that Maryland should, per state law at the time, be recognizing same-sex marriages that were conducted out of state.
When it comes to the acceptability of marriage equality, the tide has certainly turned since those days when Dwyer’s opinion would have found majority support. There are at the moment no less than seven states where marriage equality legislation is being touted, with Rhode Island, Illinois, Delaware and New Jersey all looking like good candidates for the next marriage equality win, while Minnesota is threatening to surprise with a grassroots effort.
In somewhat related news, the Supreme Court of the United States recently announced that it will hear the Defense of Marriage Act case and Proposition 8 case this coming March, potentially setting up 2013 to be a blockbuster year for marriage equality.
It seems if Delegate Dwyer would like to win re-election, he may need to tone down the anti-gay posturing, for it seems that ship has most definitely sailed.
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