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Shifting Answers on Same-Sex Marriage

Are some D.C. Council members delivering different messages to different audiences on the question of same-sex marriage?

The Washington Blade published a story today that reported 10 of 13 council members have told reporter Lou Chibbaro Jr. they would support a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

The story comes on the heels of a Washington Times story last week that reported five Council members were undecided on a full same-sex marriage bill. The Times also reported that Council Chair Vincent Gray (D-At Large) was a "likely" yes vote. But Gray, through a spokeswoman, told The Blade he was a solid yes vote.

At the same time the Washington Times was conducting its survey last week, The Washington Post was also asking Council members how they would vote on a gay marriage bill.

The Post survey, conducted minutes after a group of angry ministers stormed out of the Council chamber in opposition to same-sex marriage, closely tracked with what the Washington Times reported.

Gray and Council members Michael Brown (I-At Large) and Kwame Brown (D-At Large) all gave answers to the Post that left an impression they were still not fully committed to a same-sex marriage bill.

But all three told The Blade this week they would vote for it.

Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) are the three council members who the Blade was unable to get a response from this week. Thomas and Alexander have indicated to the Post they are undecided and Barry, the only member to vote against a bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, has sent mixed signals on whether he could be persuaded to change his stance.

Also in The Blade this week, former director of the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Clark Ray, who is gay, responds to rumors he may challenge Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) next year.

"Well I'll tell you, I've heard all that talk too, and I'm flattered by it," Ray tells Chibbaro. "But right now I am just happy doing what I'm doing. I'm planning on going to work for the Greater Washington Sports Alliance in June. And I'm just taking some time decompressing now from my eight years of city service. So I'm flattered that there are those out there that think I would make a good City Council candidate."

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  May 15, 2009; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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