Maryland’s GOP Senate leader quits after backlash over his support for civil unions

While 2010 was a banner year for GOPers around the country, the elections were a disaster for Republicans in Maryland. The pro-marriage Governor, Martin O’Malley, was reelected by a wide margin, defeating the anti-marriage former Governor, Bob Ehrlich. In this legislative session, there are only 11 Republicans in the 47-seat State Senate and 43 Delegates out of 141 seats in the House.

A couple weeks ago, their leader in the State Senate, Allan Kittelman, announced that he was sponsoring a civil unions bill that would cover straight and same-sex couples. That was a bold step to show that all GOPers weren’t homophobes. Didn’t work. Yesterday, Kittelman gave up his leadership post. GOPers in Maryland do want to be homophobes:

The ranking Republican in the Maryland Senate surprised his colleagues and the GOP establishment Tuesday when he announced that he will step down as minority leader because it had become apparent his colleagues did not want a “social moderate” as their leader.

The decision by Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard County) came two weeks after he announced plans to sponsor legislation allowing civil unions in Maryland for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Kittleman’s position put him at odds with many Republican colleagues, who told him during a closed-door meeting last week that they were distressed by his civil-unions bill and would not be supporting the legislation, according to participants.

Kittleman’s civil union bill wasn’t going to pass. But, the GOP caucus couldn’t even go there. Their homophobia is too entrenched. Full marriage equality is probably to pass in Maryland this year, but face a referendum in 2012.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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