Maryland Del. Sam Arora Backtracks On Support For Marriage Equality, Donor Karl Frisch Fights Back
March 03, 2011 4:09 pm ET by Equality Matters staff
This reversal comes as a major shock to progressives and the LGBT community; during his campaign, he was a proponent of marriage equality and even filled out an Equality Maryland questionnaire, signaling his support for same-sex marriage. Arora's betrayal puts Maryland's marriage equality bill in serious jeopardy. The bill, HB 175, remains several votes short of the 71 needed for final passage. If Arora decides to cave to anti-gay political pressure, the prospects of marriage equality in Maryland dim significantly.
Campaign donor Karl Frisch isn't taking this this lying down. AMERICAblog has posted an open letter Karl wrote to Arora demanding his money back, and he's asking other donors to do the same.
As Karl told Equality Matters today: "It makes me sick. I supported Sam because he was a friend and a staunch supporter of LGBT equality -- including marriage equality. I refuse to fund any candidate who would deny me full legal equality and simple human dignity. A real friend will tell you when you are wrong. Sam couldn't be more wrong. I've asked for a refund of my contribution and hope others will do the same." [disclosure: Karl worked for Media Matters from September 2006 to January 2011]
Read the email Karl sent to Arora:
from: Karl Frisch
to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, [personal email redacted]
date: Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 11:59 AM
subject: Contribution Refund
11:59 AM (1 hour ago)
I would like a refund of my $100 donation. I am sickened that you will be voting against marriage equality and can't support someone who would betray me, my gay friends that also supported you, and the broader LGBT community. You have told mutual friends of ours that you will be voting against marriage equality and I just can't support that -- not now, in the future, or in the past. You can mail a check made payable to "Karl Frisch" to:
Washington, DC 20009
Here is the Karl's open letter:
Removing Sam Arora's Knife From My Back
In 2010, I had three friends running for state legislature -- one in Vermont and two in Maryland. I don't typically donate much money directly to candidates but I was excited at the prospect of seeing my progressive friends elected to their respective state legislatures, so I chipped in what I could. In the end, two of my three friends were victorious.
It is now March 2011, and the Maryland House of Delegates is considering legislation, passed narrowly by the State Senate, that would bring marriage equality to the Old Line State.
My friend Sam Arora campaigned in 2010 as an advocate for marriage equality in Maryland, and after he was elected he even co-sponsored legislation to that end.
My how things have changed.
As Joe and John noted on AMERICAblog yesterday, Sam now refuses to say whether or not he will vote for final passage of the bill and will only commit to voting it out of committee.
Sam has posted to his Facebook wall that he wants people to continue sharing their thoughts with him on this important issue. That request is disingenuous at best.
This morning, I spoke with a mutual friend who spoke yesterday to Sam about his pending vote. According to that friend, Sam told him point blank that he would be voting against marriage equality because he is born again and doesn't want to redefine marriage.
I am sickened and I want my money back.
It may only be $100, but I refuse to support anyone who would align themselves with hate groups -- yes, the national hate groups are in Maryland in force, and Sam is now aligning himself with them -- especially after soliciting my support and the support of my community only months ago.
I call on everyone who donated even a penny to Sam's campaign last year to join me in contacting his campaign and asking for their money back.
Sam may be free to lie to his friends and supporters, but we don't have to rubberstamp his betrayal.
The first step is getting our money back. The second step is giving that money to a progressive pro-marriage equality Democrat who will challenge Sam in his 2012 primary.
It's obviously sad when a friend disappoints you. But sadness cannot and should not lead to inaction. True friendship means telling a friend they're wrong when they're wrong. And Sam couldn't be more wrong.
UPDATE: As AMERICAblog reports, Sam Arora has recently deleted a month-old post from his Twitter account in which he wrote:
"I co-spons'd the Relig. Freedom & Civil Marriage Prot. Act. It will couple civil marriage equality & relig. freee exercise protections in MD."
Make sure Del. Sam Arora keeps the promises he made during his campaign- contact him today and tell him he should be siding with his constituents, not hate anti-gay hate groups.
AMERICAblog has also posted a full list of Delegate Arora's campaign donors. If you or someone you know is on the list, then your voice is especially important:
Phone: (410) 841-3528, (301) 858-3528
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3528 (toll free)
Fax: (410) 841-3011, (410) 841-3528, (301) 858-3528, (240) 245-0018