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Hearing on Same-Sex Marriage Vote Under Way

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is holding a hearing today on whether the City Council bill to recognize same-sex marriages performed in others states can be put to a referendum.

The hearing room is packed with both supporters and opponents of the proposed referendum. At the hearing, which could stretch into the late afternoon, the two members of the elections board will have to decide whether the referendum can be held without violating District election law.

Under D.C. law, referendums cannot be used to appropriate funds, overturn a budget act or violate the Human Rights Act. Gay rights advocates, backed by attorneys from the city, plan to argue a referendum would violate the Human Rights Act. The act prohibits discrimination against gays and lesbians.

But Brian Raum, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, is arguing "the people should decide," and the that Human Rights Act does not extend to same-sex marriage.

"The issue before us is not whether same-sex marriage is good or bad policy, but whether who gets to decide this critical moral and social issue?" Raum said. "The proponents believe the people should decide."

In early rounds of questioning, the board and its general counsel appear skeptical of Raum's argument, citing the Human Rights Act.

Update 2:56 p.m. The hearing has concluded. The Elections Board decided it will not make a decision today. The board is keeping the record open until 5 p.m. tomorrow to give supporters and opponents more time to sumbit written testimony.

A decision will likely come Friday, or early next week, but the board appeared sympathetic to the gay community's argument that a referendum would be a violation of elections law because of the Human Rights Act.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  June 10, 2009; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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let's have a vote on whether or not to recogonise the 3rd marriage...

Posted by: newagent99 | June 10, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

If the majority were empowered to limit the rights of the minority, slavery would still be in effect, women would still be property and not allowed to vote, interracial marriage would be illegal on a state-by-state basis, and accessibility for the disabled would be up to individual building owners.

Posted by: AndreasLights | June 10, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Further, the Pagan majority in Rome during early Christianity oppressed the Christian Cults because they were in the minority and fed them to the lions. Now that Christians are in the majority, they forget their downtrodden history. African-Americans also forget that the majority (whites) fought to free the minority. Christians fought to free the Jews in Nazi Europe. Men worked to get the vote for women. Jews and other non-blacks fought for civil rights in the South.

Shame on elected officials of color for failing to "pay it forward.'

To paraphrase Voltaire for modern times, allow your religious convictions to take a "close second" priority to your oath to uphold and defend Equal Protection by declaring, as good People of Faith,

"I may disapprove of whom you wish to marry, but I will defend to the death your right to pursue happiness."

Posted by: AndreasLights | June 10, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

While they're at it, let's vote on me having multiple (female) wives without ever having to pay alimony.

Posted by: johnmoran1 | June 10, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I think it's hilarious, and hypocritical all at the same time, that the blacks of D.C. are spearheading the movement to deny a right to a group of people. Meanwhile, if blacks were singled out for not receiving a right due to another race, they'd be the first to get their mouthpieces like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton etc in front of every news camera crying out racism, followed by a stirring rendition of "We shall overcome."

Well guess what, religion blinded fools of D.C., and this coming from a giant homo - WE SHALL OVERCOME YOU. And we'll bulldoze you right out of our way and turn your churches into gay bars when we're done.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

connste, I couldn't agree with you more. It's shocking that black people do not see the parallels in our cause. It's ironic that with regard to OUR cause, the black ministers in southeast Washington could be compared to the hooded white supremacists that opposed THEIR cause. I don't understand it but it certainly gives me pause.

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 10, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if they had checked ID's and removed all non DC residents from the room, would there be anyone left in it?

Posted by: Krazijoe | June 10, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@connste: I think it's kinda sad that people assume that the black community in DC is fully behind the referendum movement. Yeah, some pastors are out there shouting the loudest, but DC isn't California. I think we can have this debate without making the sort of broad generalizations that have made the post-Prop 8 debate in California so rancorous...especially in the absence of any reliable polling, and also given that all but one of the African-American councilmembers, and the mayor, all support the measure that the referendum seeks to defeat.

Besides, despite all the sound and fury coming from a handful of local black clergy, the far greater threat to marriage equality comes from a bunch of white male congressmen from places like Utah and Texas...because, again, DC isn't California.

Posted by: EdTheRed | June 10, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

connste, another comment on your post -- maybe these ministers are angry that we (the gays) ran them out of Logan, then out of Shaw and built BeBar and Nellie's Sports Bar. Remember who were the sole opponents of those places? Black ministers...and it wasn't about the alchohol, because there were plenty of crack den liquor establishments next door.

Another interesting note: At one of my colleges black students had the view that being 'gay' was just a way for a white guy to sneak his way into a minority classification. This is seriously how some black people think of gays!

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 10, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@ Ed the red: Wards 2 and 4 passed, overwhelmingly the straw polls to recognize same sex marriage. Wards 5, 7, and 8 absolutely denied the rights during their same sex polls... Look at the demographics of each ward, and the crazed churches that operate in wards 5,7, and 8 and tell me it's not a black vs white thing. Regardless, even if it is only a few blacks, preaching from their pulpit, there should be NO formerly oppressed individual from ANY race looking to further discrimination - which is exactly what they're doing. If this goes to a ballot, I think I'll get together a referendum to make interacial marriages illegal - and I bet I could get it to pass... Just to make a mockery of how when the majority goes to the polls, bad things come around... like one other commenter pointed out - had slavery, interacial marriage, etc been up to the voters and not decided by the courts, it would still all be illegal today.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Directly from the DC Office of Human Rights web-site:

"The DC Human Rights Act is intended to end discrimination in the District of Columbia based on race, color, religion. national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, **sexual orientation**..."

If you read the HRA itself, it definitely precludes any discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Whether or not DC has the ability to marry gays, it definitely has a legal responsibility to recognize legally binding marriages from other jurisdictions. If they did not do so, then they would not be able to recognize any marriages from other jurisdictions without violating the HRA.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | June 10, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

not that straw polls are any sort of reliable polling, but all Wards passed except Ward 5:

And again, I don't think it's helpful to view the issue through a race-based lens. Religious lens? Well, now you're getting somewhere...but of course, there are also a whole lot of devout Christians of all races (and folks of other faiths) out there who support marriage equality.

Finally, while it may be theoretically true that "there should be NO formerly oppressed individual from ANY race looking to further discrimination," there are always going to be a handful of folks out there with blinders on. When you're on the right side of history, there's no need to stoop to their level.

Posted by: EdTheRed | June 10, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Replay the film, "The Gangs of New York." Irish and Italian immigrants were formerly oppressed ethnic groups. Where are they now?

Posted by: AndreasLights | June 10, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@ Ed the Red, if anyone - anyone - interferes with my rights, I'll stoop to their level and take theirs away as well. Not that I'm religious at all, but in this case, I'm looking through my "an eye for an eye" lens.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Krazijoe! Only DC residents should be allowed to enter such a forum. Just as the black community did for their rights, we too shall overcome. "Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes [the oppressed] in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them" (MLK Jr.)
America took a giant leap forward by electing an African-American man as president, hopefully as a socieity we will continue to move forward with equality. If not, we will continue to march!

Posted by: Thalib | June 10, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

If they let this go forward, how about proposing our own referendum -- that the District will not recognize marriages performed by pastors of certain churches, like Hope Christian Church of Beltsville, MD.

Posted by: jd2004dc | June 10, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I say Congrats to the right wings of the United States for actually trying to put the first real act of discrimination on the books... I mean seriously? How does this not violate the civil rights of a human being? We are denying them the right to marry. I don't know what you call it but seems pretty clear to me. Just because it doesn't happen to be your preference- Doesn't mean that it should be outlawed.

This is why there is a separation of church and state- To keep the extremist of the churches from making a ruckus like this in government. We are supposed to be a government "for the people by the people"- Some of OUR people prefer members of the same sex... we should recognize that and keep on moving.

Posted by: malia359 | June 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Almost everyone objects to oppression, but in my experience, people object mostly when they or their group are on the receiving end of oppression. Many fewer people object on moral grounds, because when you do, you can NOT do the same thing to any other group. If you do, you don't have a valid moral argument. On the other hand, if one objects to oppression based on economics, numbers, neighborhooods, or some other platform, then one is free to oppress others.

Posted by: Bfeely600 | June 10, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Connste, I truly despise violence, and I hate to think that anything really can be settled thereby. But I can't help thinking that the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots is just 18 days away. And I can't help but wonder if violence against gays would still be widespread and culturally acceptable if those guys hadn't thrown a few rocks that night.

Forty-two years ago Friday (two years before Stonewall), the Commonwealth of Virginia was forced to abolish laws that would have prohibited me and my husband from marrying. Before Loving v. Virginia, interracial couples were effectively barred from residency in several Southern states. One could argue that no one was forced to live in Virginia, or the other states with such laws, but what if every state had criminalized interracial marriage? I can't honestly say I wouldn't have thrown a few rocks myself.

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 10, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@ EdTheRed:

You are absolutely right. The black community is NOT monolithicly opposed to GLBT rights, and I wish some in our community would STOP saying that. It divides our supporters which is NOT going to help win our rights....

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | June 10, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

connste wrote:

"Not that I'm religious at all, but in this case, I'm looking through my "an eye for an eye" lens."

You would be right at home with the Taliban, wouldn't you? Please, get a grip and grow up for the sake of achieving what you claim to seek.

Posted by: DouginMountVernon | June 10, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Does Article 4, Section 1 apply here?

Posted by: mackwall | June 10, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Bad analogy, DouginMountVernon. The Taliban are theocratic oppressors. They are not acting in response to an assault upon their rights, or anyone's rights, for that matter.

Religious zealots may say they are oppressed, but their reasoning is too often in line with that of right-wing conservatives who insist that same-sex marriage threatens THEIR rights.

You know: their "right" to make other people live and behave according to their wishes. I always have trouble remembering: which Amendment guarantees that right?

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 10, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@mackwall: that's not a settled question of law yet - there's no Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of DOMA, and the most recent legal challenge doesn't address the full faith and credit clause issue.

Posted by: EdTheRed | June 10, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if Brian Raum thinks people should vote on civil rights, why don't we have a referendum on whether he has the right to speak, the right to practice law, the right to exercise his religion, or the right to travel to the District of Columbia?

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 10, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

This is not a Black or Gay Issue. Every single person of color I know thinks that Marriage should be for everyone regardless.

This is an issue of hate filled bigots using religion as an excuse to express their hatred. I hope the rest of the Christian community stands up and tells these fools exactly what they all think of that kind of hate mongering!

Posted by: chiefindcnw | June 10, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse


Please do not say "the blacks of D.C." are promoting this referendum. Although most of the outspoken supporters of the referendum are, indeed, African American, their numbers are few.

And their race takes a back seat to their right-wing religions. The homophobic minister leading the charge for the referendum opposed Barack Obama for president. He puts his church before anything else, including his race.

Plenty of African Americans, including African American clergy, support same-sex marriage and oppose this referendum. It doesn't do anyone any good to racialize the issue, and, frankly, it isn't factually correct or fair to racialize the issue.

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 10, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@ mackwall

Most experts on the Full Faith and Credit Clause do NOT believe that it requires one state (or the District) to recognize an out-of-state marriage--and that includes many progressive experts on the subject. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that out-of-state judgments must be recognized, but they have been extremely leniet when it comes to anything that isn't a judgment. And a marriage has never been treated in law as a judgment.

Posted by: uh_huhh | June 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@ chiefindcnw


Posted by: uh_huhh | June 10, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that the pro same sex marriage groups have framed the same sex marriage issue as a "civil rights" or "fundamental rights" issue.

Technically according to several state supreme courts that have examined the issue in detail, same sex marriage is not a civil right.

It is not a fundamental right, because it does not rooted in our history and culture.

Therefore, the question remains whether or not we want to create a new right.

There is no abrogation of civil rights by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Same sex marriage needs to be legislated as a new right from state to state.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 10, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

...and state supreme courts had repeatedly upheld laws against interracial marriage based on the argument that they prosecuted both the black spouse and the white spouse, so no discrimination there, right? Hmmm.

Try turning it around. If heterosexual marriage were illegal, would you make the same argument?

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 10, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

@captn_ahab: You have a right to get married and I don't = discrimination.

@douginmountveron: Me, in the Taliban? No thanks hon, I'd need to much moisturizer to survive the pigeon hole in the desert.

@ everyone on here: I think it's plain as day that to deny one group of individuals a right based on one trait, that is the definiton of discrimination. Heck, I think sometimes that illegal aliens running around in this country are protected more than my white gay self!

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

One thing I do not see on this blog when talking about racism is choice. Blacks do not have a choice, for skin color is natural. This is not the same argument as the choice you make of whom your companion is. On many fronts this is a human rights issue, but don't try to make it the samme as the civil rights movement. And for all those that are trying to say that blacks are the culprit, we don't care.

The clergy is doing what they are told is right and wrong biblically. Just as you want people to understand you, you should understand their rights to oppose you also. Stop with the racial comparisons to homosexuality. One is choice and the other is natural.

Posted by: gregumsb | June 10, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse



We both have the right to get married under the accepted definition of marriage in any state in the union.

There is no fundamental right to marry someone of the same sex. Such a right is not rooted in our history or culture.

Both of us have the right to form a relationship and cohabit with anyone we like.

Neither one of us has the right to "marry" someone of the same sex, except in IA, MA, NH, ME, CN, and VT.

We both also have the right to petition our state representatives to change laws we disagree with.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Gregumsb, you made a conscious decision to be heterosexual? That couldn't have been easy. Will you please talk us through this process?

OK, yes, I chose my husband, and he chose me. But I had NO choice regarding his gender. I simply am not attracted to women, have never fallen in love with one, have never desired one. On the other hand, from early adolescence, I have caught myself acted like a complete fool over males. Repeatedly.

I work with plants. The same blurring of sexual and gender distinctions that occur in humans (and just about every other species that reproduces sexually) occur in plants. And plants have NO choice regarding their sex partners.

Ahab, are you actually saying there is no discrimination because everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite gender, and the fact that some of us have absolutely no desire or inclination to do so is immaterial? Would you actually condemn countless well-intentioned heterosexuals to marriage to gays and lesbians? What a cruel thing to inflict on both parties! Now, that's what I call redefining marriage! And it is most decidedly unnatural. Ask any straight person who's lived through it.

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 10, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

connste may not know it, but ward 4 is about 75-80% African-American, but I guess that fact wouldn't support his/her argument.

Posted by: eomcmars | June 10, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse


Inter racial or inter ethnic marriage has been part of Western culture for thousands of years.

The anti miscegenation laws in the Southern United States used marriage as a way to enforce racial segregation.

Some heterosexual marriages are illegal.

The Supreme Court in Loving directly related marriage to procreation with the words, "... our very existence and survival..." when describing the necessity of freedom to marry anyone of any skin color.

The case had nothing to do with the definition of marriage itself.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 10, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

captn_ahab: OK, then I have a right to continue my membership in my all white country club and people of color do not. Because traiditionally, it is not rooted in our history or culture to have black members. So don't cry wolf if applications are rejected. And if we don't get to be on the PGA tour, who cares.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

and gregumsb - are you serious? You think anyone would CHOOSE to be with a person of the same sex? Me choosing to put up with another man and all their lying and carrying on, or a lesbian listening to all the whining and "does this make my butt look fat" comments? Are you serious that you think it's a choice??? You think any kid would choose to get beat up for being true to who they are? If so, while we're all taking the moral high ground on telling who can do what, and who can't, and making this legal, and that illegal, I think we need to introduce a referendum to outlaw morons like you from pro-creating. YOU - OUT OF THE GENE POOL!

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse


If you want to play legalistics, here's your problem.

Sexual orientation has not been accepted as a "suspect class" by most courts that have examined the issue.

That's why most supreme courts have found that given our history and culture and the purposes advanced for marriage by the states, it is "rational" to define marriage as requiring a man and a woman.

The right to be married has various restrictions on it. It can only be two people, they can not in most cases be first cousins, and they must be of opposite sexes.

That is not to say that there should not be laws to protect other types of domestic partnerships.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

and EOMCMARS, in the last census, conducted in 2005, only 61% of D.C. was black. Your claim that ward 4 is 80% black is probably the most absurd claim on this string... As we all know, Ward 2 and Ward 4 are the lilly whitest areas of chocolate city, and if that, as a whole, is only 61% black, and that was in 2005, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ward 4 may be now 25-30% black at the most - as the city continues to gentrify.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's one "argument" I could never figure...I mean, how anyone who spent more than five minutes in junior high school could possibly think that someone would "choose" to be gay is beyond me: "Oh, hey, you know what would be *really* great? If I could make myself a target for insults, derision, discrimination, and maybe even violence, just by liking other guys! Awesome! And then, if I get beaten to death for it, if I'm really lucky, the folks from Westboro Baptist will show up and picket my funeral - so at least there will be someone there, since most of my family probably won't bother with it."

Yeah, "choose." Right.

Posted by: EdTheRed | June 10, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

thank you captn_ahab. Thats a very fair minded opinion. And I agree. but as the Senate passed the hate crimes bill - if only as an amendment - yesterday, maybe someday we'll be protected!

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

"Some heterosexual marriages are illegal."

That is because society has a demonstrated, compelling reason to ban them.

Marriage between closely related people causes birth defects and congenital diseases, which weakens the gene pool.

Marriage to a child is exploitative and potential physically harmful, and children lack the maturity to give informed consent and enter into a contract. Therefore, banning marriage to children protects the child's rights.

Polygamy and polyandry threaten the sovereignty and property rights of the first spouse and his or her offspring. It is not in their interests for the first spouse to consent, and such consent is usually coerced. Therefore, banning polygamy and polyandry protects the rights of the first spouse and his or her children.

Society has absolutely no compelling reason to prevent same-sex marriage. If anything, there are compelling reasons to encourage it. Banning same sex marriage infringes the rights of gays and lesbians, while legalizing it in no way infringes ANYONE'S rights. There is no right to have other people behave as you wish in matters that affect you not one whit.

Posted by: carlaclaws | June 10, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Carlaclaws, I agree - there are compelling reasons to encourage it... #1) until now, gays subconsciously know they cannot have legal oversight of their partner. This results in a self destructive behavior to have the most fun while you're young, why bother growing older - you have nothing to look forward to anyway - and you'll be unattractive! I think gay marriage, or union, or whatever will negate that mindset, and give us something to look forward to - and gays and lesbians will be less promiscuous, and will build lives together with their partners...

I think Wanda Sykes says it best when she says: "If you don't like same sex marriage, don't marry someone of the same sex." That makes it so simple, even gregumsb "it's your choice" can understand it! It encroaches on nobodies rights... The only thing that will infringe on the sanctity of your marriage is DIVORCE. :)

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Interesting points.

First, the state does not require a compelling interest to maintain the definition of marriage. As sexual orientation is not a suspect class, only a rational reason is required. In the main, the courts have found the current definition of marriage to serve a rational state interest.

Marriage between first cousins can cause increased homozygosity, but not necessarily increased birth defects. The definition of incest actually varies from culture to culture. Some cultures have chosen to allow or even encourage some degrees of incest.

You are making assumptions about polygamy. It is certainly possible to have pre nuptial agreements that would protect the rights of all the wives and the progeny, and it is certainly a large assumption to say the all polygamous relationships would necessarily be abusive or coercive. There are certainly plenty of supposedly monogamous heterosexual relationships that are abusive of either children or a spouse. If three people love each other who are we to make judgments, right?

Most states have decided that it is in the best interests of of society to encourage procreation within marriage, to stabilize mother father marriages, and to protect biological progeny of str8 sex, to give marriage a preferred heterosexual nature.

You may disagree.

The onus, however, is on those who disagree to convince the majority that the current definition is outmoded.

If same sex marriage is passed through the legislature in my state I certainly would support it.

Posted by: captn_ahab | June 10, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Regarding sexual orientation being a choice:

1. Speaking personally, if you can choose between men and women, then you are neither straight nor gay, you are bisexual. Do you deny bisexual Americans the right to choose their partner?

2. Don't confuse the choice to ACCEPT the natural attractions that God/and/or/Nature has dealt an individual with a choice to BE homosexual. I personally CHOSE to disregard my same-sex attractions for several years. Try as I might, I just couldn't get with the "program." I had to CHOOSE between suicide or coming out and ACCEPTING myself for who I was and still am. I no more chose my sexual orientation than I did my skin color...

PLEASE tell us how you are heterosexual AND made a conscious choice to prefer the opposite sex. Please, please tell us about that day.

3. Which religion you follow, if any, is a choice, isn't it? Some people CHOOSE to change religions, to convert. Your CHOICE of which GOD to love, is a protected CHOICE. If you were told you had to practice one religion or another, you would have a case. If you were force by the government to change the color of your skin, you could laugh all the way to a civil judgment.

There IS a correlation between racism and homophobia (for lack of a better term, except perhaps for sexism. Same-sexism?) The difference is axial. Human diversity can be plotted on a grid. Columns are different ethnicities. Rows are different genders and gender preferences. Racism discriminates against people in columns. Sexism and same-sexism are against people in rows on this imaginary grid of humanity. So, yes, racism and sexism are not the same, but the are ANALOGOUS. Each treats a group of persons badly because of the traits that assign them to that group.

Gays, by the way, have been assigned to a "Quasi-suspect class."

Posted by: AndreasLights | June 10, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

gregumsb, I bet I could find a white supremacist who believes it's biblically written that blacks are inferior to whites and that they are following what is biblically written. I'm sure they could even give you a bible verse or three.

I dont expect YOU to follow along with that, so don't give me this B.S. that I have to understand why someone has irrational hate for me -- especially someone who has been as oppressed. PLEASE! And secondly, just as you didn't choose to be born black, gays didn't choose to be born gay.

And, let me also say it's obvious that many blacks don't care what anyone says. I wish homosexuality was AS against many DC black's religion as crime was -- this city would be a LOT safer.

It's uneducated blacks like you, gregumsb, that gives those crazy ministers such a big audience -- and ruins it for the vast majority of intelligent African Americans who knows a basic human right when he or she sees one.

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 10, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

an edit to my recent post above:

And, let me also say it's obvious that many blacks don't care what anyone says. I wish crime was AS against many DC black's religion as homosexuality was -- this city would be a LOT safer.

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 10, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Another point, a bit away from race and religion, is the history of the treatment of homosexuals in America, specifically regarding the onset of the AIDS epidemic.

Genocide may or may not be too strong a term to describe the results of inaction on the part of Ronald Reagan and the established body politic in the early '80s and throughout the decade.

But to say that Silence equalled Death would be an understatement.

If it weren't for America's deeply-rooted hatred for homosexuals, a problem at the root of today's equality "votes," thousands of people would still be alive today, and millions more might not be infected.

From an historical perspective, added weight should be given to gay couples wishing to achieve first-class citizenship, in light of the injustices of the past. Reparations for centuries of legalized queer-bashing, including from the sin of doing nothing to stop the spread of AIDS, should be paid.

The gesture would speak volumes to Man's ability to right what is wrong.

Posted by: AndreasLights | June 10, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse looks like Reverend Harry Jackson has some explaining to do, according to this article in the Washington Blade!!

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 10, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

AndreasLights - I agree 110% - if we were allowed to get married, who knows, maybe AIDS wouldn't have even spread - since the stigma of "don't bother being in a committed replationship - it won't be legally recognized anyway" wouldn't have existed... I think legalizing same sex marriage will do more for AIDS prevention than any ad campaign, etc, since it will teach us, hey, you can be in a committed relationship and be legally recognized by the states... Go ahead, grow close to them - you'll even be allowed to make legal decisions for your partner!

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

This debate is not about race. There are churches here in Washington with primarily black congregations in favor of marriage equality and white congregations which oppose equality. Just this week, Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley and his wife Rev. Dr. Christine Wiley, who are both black Baptists, spoke in favor of marriage equality with other religious leaders (white and black) who share their views. Mr. Patrick J. Walker an African American reverend, with a congregation in MD, who has become the face of the opposition, is being funded by Virginia based Focus on the Family which is mostly a white evangelicals interest group. Ignorance, righteous and fear are not exclusive to ones race.

Posted by: rgmwdc | June 10, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Federal Law applies to the District of Columbia.

All law passed in DC must be approved by Congress and not conflict with Federal Law.

As such anything laws regarding marriage must agree with the Federal Law defining what marriage is: a relationship between one man and one woman.

Therefor homosexual marriages performed in the states that allow it would have to be between one man and one woman to be recognized.

I don't think that is going to happen.

Posted by: BlackGumTree | June 10, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

For those of you critical of black people for supporting the referendum for all voters to decide the marriage issue, you should do your home work. The rights of black people were based on social injustices and laws created by white people. The issue of marriage is rooted in the bible, Adam and Eve, so, I resent the false comparisons of civil rights of black folks with an issue that goes back to biblical times. Now, can't we all just get alone with our civil unions?

Posted by: bill121 | June 10, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Bill121: Thank goodness separation of church and state guarantees the bible won't come into play. You mention social injustices... So precluding a group of people identified by a specific trait (gay, black, etc) are not the same thing? All of you freaks are blurred by your vision. Look at South Africa, Mexico, Spain, pretty much all of the European Union where a lot of your jacked up religions originated... those countries all recognize same sex relationships, so why are we so blind here? Yet another reason America will be inconsequential on the world stage in about three generations... We're doing ourselves in each new law/bailout/bible thumping at a time.

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Let the people vote. Afer reading some of the racist comments on this board, things are much clearer.

Posted by: davis_renee | June 10, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let bigots vote to limit rights and exclude a certain group of folks based on a trait... Do you also wish racists would have been able to vote to grant you your rights? Nope, all rights blacks enjoy today were made possible by courts, not by a vote. Also, all of you who think "civil rights" only pertains to the african american fight for equality, I am sorry to burst your bubble but civil is short for civilization, which doesn't define any specific group, and pertains to the whole, so drop that argument. If you want your own definition of your struggle for rights, you're gonna have to call it Afro-rights or something, but you're not gonna steal "civil" from womens suffrage, etc. Sorry charlies

Posted by: connste | June 10, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Same-sex "marriage," indeed. That the "city council" is even considering such a thing is proof positive (if more proof were even needed) that the D.C. "home rule" experiment has been a miserable failure.

It's time we returned D.C. to governance by three commissioners, confirmed by Congress - one each from Maryland, Virginia, and the city itself.

Posted by: JMosesBrowning | June 10, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

@bill21 "Now, can't we all just get alone [sic] with our civil unions?"

That would be lovely if the Federal Government recognized something called a "Civil Union". If I get a civil union with my foreign boyfriend, he won't get immigration rights, the right to visit me in the hospital, and the many many other rights given to married people under Federal Law. Civil Unions provide state benefits, but NO federal benefits. I, for one, don't care what it's called as long as it provides the SAME benefits.

In the meantime, you can believe whatever you want in your church. No one is forcing your pastor to marry gays (just like no one could force your pastor to marry two Catholics if it was against the church's beliefs to do so.) This is a question of civil, secular society, where the bible is not supposed to play a role.

Posted by: chrisny2 | June 10, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

An ignoramus below trots out a parade of horribles "if the majority were empowered to limit the rights of the minority."

Funny thing is that only *ONE* issue in this person's list was settled by anything *OTHER* than majority rule through the democratic process (helped along in one instance by armed conflict). Oh, well. I'm sure there was a point there somewhere.

Anyhow, changing the definition of marriage is not a "right". In fact it is a "wrong", but certainly is not a "right".

Posted by: zjr78xva | June 10, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

zjr78xv, ever heard of Loving v. Virginia? It's the Supreme Court case that changed the definition of marriage in the United States way back in 1967 allowing blacks and whites to get married. A white supremacist surely said the same thing you did (Anyhow, changing the definition of marriage is not a "right". In fact it is a "wrong", but certainly is not a "right".) after THAT case was decided. Wow, just wow. Black people mystify me.

Posted by: chaddsford1971 | June 11, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm about to need a mister to cool off. Evian please. This topic is making me hot! And JMosesBrowning - seriously? You want a rep from MD and VA to control the District? Just like these idiots from their House of Hate Church in Beltsville, MD are trying to manipulate D.C. law even though they are not registered DC voters? You saying that MD and VA should control the District is like me saying Germany and France should control the U.S. - there is no vested interest. Unless you pay taxes, like I do - to live in D.C. you have NO SAY in how D.C. runs itsself.

Posted by: connste | June 11, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

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