Metro Weekly

Maryland bisexual Republican delegate switches parties, citing GOP’s embrace of Trump

Del. Meagan Simonaire came out in April during a debate on the Maryland House floor over conversion therapy

Meagan Simonaire – Photo: Facebook.

A bisexual Maryland state delegate has announced she is switching political parties from Republican to Democrat.

Del. Meagan Simonaire, formerly a Republican of Anne Arundel County, appeared at the headquarters of the Maryland Democratic Party to announce her decision to leave the GOP.

In prepared remarks, Simonaire indicated she was frustrated with the national party’s priorities, and particularly its embrace of President Trump’s divisive brand of politics, reports WBAL.

“I am leaving the Republican Party today, because it is important for me to stand with a party that is fighting for equality for all Americans — minorities, the LGBTQ community, victims of gun violence, immigrants, women, Americans of all faiths, and communities being affected by climate change,” Simonaire said. “President Trump regularly attacks minorities, women and anyone who does not agree with him, and I can no longer remain a part of a party that condones his divisive rhetoric. It’s reprehensible.”

The issue of respect for all people, particularly the LGBTQ community, seems to have resonance with Simonaire, who revealed amid a debate over conversion therapy on the floor of the House of Delegates that her parents had considered enrolling her in conversion therapy when she admitted she was attracted to women.

She eventually voted for the ban, which was signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Her father, State Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel Co.), a longtime loyal Republican, voted against the Senate version of that very same measure.

He later wrote an op-ed in the Capital Gazette arguing that the story of he and his wife seeking out counselors to help his daughter deal with her feelings of same-sex attraction had been distorted.

He also claimed he thought the bill was too broad, and continues to believe it will make therapists hesitant to even talk to minors struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, for fear of losing their license should a simple conversation be perceived as “promoting conversion therapy.”

Simonaire is not running for re-election this year, but promises to stay involved in politics after she leaves office in January.

“I could have waited until my term was over before switching parties, but when I ran for office, I promised to be transparent with my constituents,” she said. “This is not a decision I made lightly. I know, personally, how difficult it is to leave what has been familiar to you your entire life — whether it’s a political party or other long-held beliefs, but I also believe it is important to not let your past decisions determine your future. It’s important to grow, and that’s what I’ve done in the past 4 years as a delegate. I thank my constituents for giving me the opportunity.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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