Maryland State Senator Allan H. Kittleman has stepped down from his post as Republican minority leader over his support for civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Kittleman had announced two weeks ago that he would introduce a civil unions bill to counter an upcoming gay marriage bill backed by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola and Senator Rich Madaleno introduced that bill on Friday.

According to the Washington Post, Republican colleagues disapproved of Kittleman's plans, and the ranking Republican decided that Senate GOP members should have a leader who is “more conservative than I am on social issues.”

“I don't want to have them worry every time I get on the floor, 'What is he going to say?'” he told the paper.

Kittleman, who has served as the chamber's minority leader for two years, insisted the decision to resign was his own.

“No one encouraged him to step down nor did we expect him to step down. He has been an excellent Minority Leader,” Senator Nancy Jacobs told the paper in an email.