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With Ward 6 on Board; Ward 1 Targeted in Marriage Fight

There is little doubt that Democratic activists who live on Capitol Hill are solidly behind an effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

The Ward 6 Democratic Committee voted 73 to 3 last night in support of a resolution calling on the City Council to approve a same-sex marriage bill.

"Equal and full civil rights are core principles of the Democratic Party and that was affirmed again tonight by the Ward 6 Democrats," said Charles Allen, president of the Ward 6 Democrats.

Meanwhile, one gay rights activist is stepping up the pressure on Democratic leaders in Ward 1, which includes center-city neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, to also take up a same-sex marriage resolution.

Philip Pannell, a longtime gay Democratic leader, said he is going to push to have the Ward 1 Democratic Committee's charter revoked because it has not held a meeting in a year, he said.

Sedrick Muhammad, who works for Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), is the chair of the committee. Pannell, who lives in Ward 8, said he plans to introduce a resolution at the next Democratic State Committee meeting to dissolve the current Ward 1 committee so a new one can be created.

"It is really disappointing that the Democrats in Ward 1 cannot weigh in on the marriage equality issue because someone on a gay City Council members' staff has not called a meeting in a year," Pannell wrote in an email this morning. "How is that for irony?"

Muhammad declined to comment but said he is in the process of searching for a meeting location.

It's unclear why Pannell is suddenly so adamant that the Ward 1 committee hastily arranges a meeting. It was only last month that the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, an organization of gay Democrats, took up its resolution in support of same-sex marriage.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  May 20, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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