As Wisconsin and Indiana Democrats take refuge outside state lines, Maryland legislators have followed their lead: a pair of delegates played hooky this week as their fellow committee members met to discuss a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Democrats were left in the lurch as they battled to keep the bill alive minus two of their party members—absences their Republican colleagues defended, reports the Washington Post. "She needed some time to pray about this," said one of absent Del. Tiffany Alston. Alston says she hadn’t been ready to vote, but would stop boycotting; the other said she was staying away to push for concessions on other legislation.
It’s not the first time lawmakers have used the tactic. Indeed, as an Illinois state representative, Abraham Lincoln staged a walkout against a banking bill in 1839; legend has it that they next day they were locked in the building ... so they tried to jump out the window. In 2003, Texas Dems left the state to protest Congressional redistricting. Such efforts tend to occur at emotionally-fraught moments, says an expert. “But sometimes you have to just go in there and accept the adverse vote, and plan to get your revenge at the next election."