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September 03, 2010

NOM loses another anti-gay candidate in DC

The Washington Post reported online yesterday that Rev. Anthony Motley failed to turn in the 3000 signatures required to be on the ballot as an At-Large Council candidate in the D.C. general election on November 2. The Post incorrectly reported that the required number was 2000. Motley

Motley was endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a group that seeks to ban same-sex marriages across the country and has led the court effort to place D.C.'s Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Amendment Act, now law, on the ballot.

NOM had previously backed four candidates: Motley (I) At-Large, Kelvin Robinson (D) At-Large, Delano Hunter (D) Ward 5, and Leo Alexander (D) mayor.

Robinson dropped out of the At-Large race and is running instead for Ward 6. Robinson has not been endorsed by NOM in the Ward 6 race. Robinson has sought to distance himself from NOM and has not taken any donations from them. As an At-Large candidate at the DC for Democracy forum, he seems to say that marriage equality should be put up for a vote. However, that position is not entirely clear from the video. He did say at the Ward 6 candidate's forum on September 1 that he would not have voted for the marriage equality law. However he is not running on the issue, and importantly from our perspective, NOM has lost a candidate.

NOM is down to just two, Delano Hunter (D) Ward 5 and Leo Alexander (D) mayor. Alexander was found in the Washington Post poll to appeal to 1% of likely voters. Less than two weeks before the election, it is safe to call him out.

Delano Hunter would like you to believe that he isn't anti-gay. NOM sent out a slick mailer touting how Hunter opposes marriage equality with scare tactics about gay money flowing into Ward 5 to defeat Hunter. Note, that is an outside group complaining about outside funding. I am not aware of any campaign to raise money to defeat Hunter, and it definitely isn't going into Tommy Thomas' campaign. I doubt most LGBT people in D.C. know who Hunter is, let alone New York and San Francisco.

The Washington Post endorsed Hunter and wrote, "Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law."

In fact, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Amendment Act does indeed respect the beliefs of religious groups and was widely backed by religious leaders. Hunter has a rambling video message where he thinks that he has explained his position. It seems to be vague enough that everyone can take away whatever position they wish. He carefully avoids anything specific.

He clearly doesn't personally support marriage equality. He does support equal access to the legal rights, such as we have under domestic partnerships. As we've explained ad nauseam, separate but equal is not equal. He wants to keep same-sex couples from the laws that apply to everyone else because some people have religious view that gay people should not be treated equally.

He says that people want their "religious opinion expressed." They and their churches are not encumbered by this law or any other from expressing their religious opinions. What they cannot do is express their religious views in the law. The First Amendment works both ways to protect all of us.

He is certainly fond of NOM and feels that we misunderstand them. We understand them quite well. They are a radical anti-equality group that wants t ban marriages based on sex and sexual orientation. We beat NOM in the Council. We beat NOM before the Board of Elections and Ethics, we beat NOM in court, we beat NOM in the fight for public support, and we are beating NOM at the ballot box.

Mr. Hunter, NOM is not a benign group that seeks traditional values and supports people's right to vote. By embracing NOM and in this video, you tell us that you support discrimination on a fundamental right. You tell us that a majority should be able to dictate what rights a minority group may have. Rights aren't for majorities to decide. All of our laws are to be applied fairly to everyone. That is the point of "rule of law". having different rights for different groups as decided by popular vote is against the basic defining principles of our country. The founders of this nation did not provide for a plebicite as they knew the dangers that it could produce. The first D.C. Council prohibited ballot measures that would violate the Human Rights Act. As civil right activists they understood what it means for a majority to keep a minority from full equality.

NOM lost because their position is unjust and illegal. We won. We have marriage equality in D.C. and religious groups are not impacted.

NOM spent over $60,000 to get four candidates elected. With Hunter well behind Tommy Thomas, it looks like they have failed once again. I look forward to Delano Hunter losing in primary on September 14.   



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So does this leave David Catania facing Richard Urban? He is definitely not a friend to the LGBT community. Steptoe was circulating petitions but she never filed them and Motley did not get enough support. Hopefully NOM will drain it's coffers supporting Richard Urban.

There are two Statehood-Green Party candidates running in that primary. Both were generally supportive in their questionnaires. One of them will face the Democratic winner, David Catania, and Richard Urban.

The top two vote getters win. The top vote winner has always been the Democrat. The voter registration advantage, and the name recognition from the primary have been insurmountable so far.

David Catania is very likely to be re-elected easily as the second place winner.

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