Bryan P. SearsBy
There will be no sixth term for Del. Emmett Burns.
Burns, 72, said he does not plan to run for re-election in 2014.
"The legislature has become too liberal for me," said Burns. "I don't need the headache anymore."
Burns cited a number of issues including a bill granting in-state tuition rates to some immigrants living in the country illegally that is more commonly known as the Maryland DREAM Act and another bill granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.
But he said debate over same-sex marriage was particularly troubling to him
"Same-sex marriage took too much out of me," said Burns, who is also a pastor at Rising Sun Baptist Church.
Burns, in an interview Monday, said the Maryland General Assembly "is doing things contrary to what I think the legislature should do."
Burns was an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage and frequently sponsored bills calling for an amendment to the Maryland Constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Last year, Burns wrote a letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti complaining about public statements in favor of same-sex marriage made by former Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. In that letter, written on House of Delegates letterhead, Burns asked the team owner to “inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.”
Burns later recanted the letter and said the linebacker had the right to speak out on the issue. The missive to Bisciotti earned the legislator a reprimand from the Maryland Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.
Burns, who currently represents the 10th District including Woodlawn and Randallstown, would have had to campaign in the newly redrawn District 44B. The new two-delegate district is part of the new 44th District that includes a portion of western Baltimore City.
Burns said redistricting played no part in his decision.
"Absolutely not," Burns said. "I could win in that district hands down."
Burns said he plans to endorse Aaron Burnett, who is holding a fundraising event on Thursday. Also running in that district is Ranier Harvey, a former retired Baltimore County police officer and member of the Baltimore County Planning Board. Harvey is a supporter of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and appeared in a 2010 campaign commercial endorsing Kamenetz.
Burns is not the first Democratic delegate from western Baltimore County to decline to run for re-election in 2014.
Dels. Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone, who both represent Catonsville and Arbutus, said in May that they will not run after three and five terms respectively.
DeBoy gave similar reasons to Burns.
"The House of Delegates is going more liberal and I'm a middle of the road, moderate Democrat," DeBoy said. "You start to feel you're being marginalized. You just can't stop some of this stuff."