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Maryland governor
fires transit board appointee for antigay remark

Maryland governor
fires transit board appointee for antigay remark

Ehrlich

Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (pictured) has fired his appointee to the D.C. transit authority board for saying that gay people are "persons of sexual deviancy."

Maryland's Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., has fired his appointee to the Washington, D.C., area's Metro transit authority board for saying that gay people are "persons of sexual deviancy." Robert J. Smith made the remark while appearing on a local cable television political show last weekend, The Washington Post reports. On the show, 21 This Week, broadcast on a Montgomery County, Md., cable channel, Smith was responding to another panelist's comment that Mary Cheney, the vice president's daughter, would not want the government interfering in her personal life. "That's fine, that's fine," Smith said, according to the Post. "But that doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy." Smith, a Gaithersburg architect, had appeared regularly on the show as a "Republican activist," according to the Post. He was appointed in 2004 to a three-year term on the Metro board, which governs the area's subway and bus system and includes members from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. "Robert Smith's comments were highly inappropriate, insensitive, and unacceptable," Ehrlich said in a statement. "They are in direct conflict to my administration's commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance, and opportunity." The controversy began at a Metro board meeting earlier this week when openly gay member Jim Graham, who represents D.C. and also serves on its city council, criticized Smith for making the remark and calling on him to disavow it or be removed from the board. "As someone who cares deeply about human rights, and as an openly gay elected official...I cannot remain silent in the face of these comments," Graham said at the meeting, reports the Post. Graham has since complimented Ehrlich for removing Smith, telling the Post, "The governor appreciated the seriousness of this problem." (The Advocate)

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