In Maryland‘s 47-member State Senate, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2:1. So with a GOP caucus of just 11, it’s surprising to learn that two weeks ago, when Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman announced he would sponsor legislation legalizing civil unions for both gays and straights, his Republican colleagues were so shocked they took him behind closed doors and told him they wouldn’t be supporting the bill. I mean, he didn’t give them a head’s up beforehand? On something so, uh, “controversial”? Apparently not, because two weeks later comes Kittleman’s announcement that he’s stepping down from his minority leader post, having realized his peers don’t want a “social moderate” leading the troops. “I don’t want to have them worry every time I get on the floor, ‘What is he going to say?,'” the senator explained. Leaving the post gives him “the freedom to be who I am, to champion issues I really care about without worrying about stepping on anyone’s toes.” So, instead of using his limited power to change a few hearts and minds, he’s giving up his leadership post so Senate Republicans can anoint somebody who believes wholly in marriage discrimination. Wonderful. In announcing his support of the measure two weeks ago, Kittleman told reporters, “I believe that we have an opportunity to make Maryland a more fair state, a more just state and a state which treats all of its citizens equally under the law.” Or not. So, will Democrats pick up the slack? Well some of them are certainly trying.