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« Anti-gay King daughter elected SCLC president | Main | God's law, the 19th Amendment, and marriage equality »

November 02, 2009

D.C. officials on record for marriage equality before their last elections

Opponents of civil marriage equality like Bishop Harry Jackson and Ward 5 ANC commissioner Bob King accuse the eleven D.C. Council members who have pledged to support the marriage equality bill (all except Yvette Alexander and Marion Barry) of infringing the right of the people to vote. This is because Jackson and King and their allies demand a plebiscite on the issue. Not only do they ignore the fact that our representative form of government is NOT based on simple majority rule—there are protections for the rights of minorities which cannot be voted away—they also ignore the fact that every one of the eleven council members who support marriage equality publicly pledged their support before their last election. Some have been making the pledge for several election cycles.

Here is a link to the evidence:

http://www.glaa.org/archive/2009/marriagestands.shtml

GLAA has been publishing the responses to our candidate questionnaires by D.C. elected officials and their challengers for many years. As the above-linked compilation shows, this information has been readily available. Indeed, members of the press and other activists have reported and discussed for years the fact that a majority of D.C. Council members support civil marriage equality, based on GLAA’s assiduously compiled documentation. This proves that every one of our supporters on the Council, as well as the Mayor, has faced the voters at least once since publicly pledging their support for marriage equality. The issue has been widely discussed and has been no secret.

Our opponents like Bishop Jackson and Commissioner King are only crying foul because they are losing and are therefore trying to change the subject. But the evidence shows that there has been no “dead of night” conspiracy to slip marriage equality past the voters. The push for marriage equality has been conducted in the public eye—including today with the continuation of the public hearing on Bill 18-482, and in the past with public debates at televised D.C. Council legislative meetings. We recognize that many who oppose us have an honest disagreement on the marriage issue; we urge those honest citizens to disassociate themselves from the lies and misrepresentations of people like Bishop Jackson. Criticism is one thing, and false statements are another. The accusations of secrecy and tyranny being made against D.C. officials on this issue are false and dishonorable.

Update: As I type this, a Muslim scholar is testifying in favor of the marriage equality bill.

Update 2: Washington Blade reporter Lou Chibbaro sent me the following inquiry:

Rick,

Rev. Anthony Evans, one of the outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage, constantly tells me of what he calls the Mendelson-Catania "dead of the night" conspiracy to ram through the same-sex marraige recognition bill.

He points out, correctly, that there was no advance notice of the sudden change in a DP bill on which the recognition language was attached and no public hearing on the issue.

How have GLAA and other groups responded to this criticism, which is seperate from the referendum/initiative issue? I may see you at the hearing today--I'm walking out the door now to go to the Wilson Building.

Lou

My response:

Lou,

The answer to that "dead of night" charge regarding the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act is simply that changes are part of the legislative process. But the change in question was openly discussed and voted upon twice at public and televised D.C. Council legislative meetings. If it had been such a secret, how could there have been a public protest demonstration held against it across the street at Freedom Plaza?

I am going to watch today's hearing from home.

Rick

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