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Another vote for same-sex marriage

There may be another vote on the D.C. Council in support of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

Nine council members are co-sponsoring council member David A. Catania's (I-At Large) same-sex marriage bill. Council members Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) were the only members not supporting the legislation.

But at Monday night's committee hearing on the bill, Thomas indicated that he will probably vote for the bill if some tweaks are made to guarantee that religious organizations do not have to participate in same-sex marriages.

"I speak to the fact that while we may have very strong personal beliefs on an issue, as a legislator, we must look at how the law is enacted on civil and human rights issues," Thomas said. "I have held fast to my commitment that marriage equality is one that can be performed and we can move forward as a city."

Thomas, who is up for reelection next year, could face some political pressure in his district if he votes for Catania's bill. Some of the most fervent critics of same-sex marriage in the District reside in Ward 5, including several advisory neighborhood commissioners. But Northeast Washington also has a growing gay and lesbian population.

Thomas's support could be a huge boost to same-sex marriage proponents. With his support, every council member representing areas west of the Anacostia River will be behind the legislation.

But it appears doubtful that supporters will be able to achieve a unanimous vote. Alexander was spotted at a rally religious leaders held on Sunday to demand that a referendum be held on the issue. Several speakers singled out Alexander for praise for sticking with them.

Barry could be more of a wild card. He was the only council member to vote against the bill legalizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, and he has publicly stated since then that he does not plan to vote for Catania's bill.

But Barry can be unpredictable, and vote-counters often don't know what he'll do until the moment arrives.

Some same-sex marriage supporters speculate that Barry, a longtime supporter of gay rights, might flip to their side at the last minute if they frame the issue as a history-changing vote that could bolster his legacy.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  October 27, 2009; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  Church and State , City Life , D.C. Council , Marion Barry , Tim Craig , same-sex marriage  
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Comments

The first step in dehumanizing a group of people in preparation for committing genocide is to objectify them and strip them of their identity as an individual.I would like to inform Ms Ernestine Copeland that I am not a male dog; I do not mate with other male dogs. I am an Anglican Christian gay man; I MAKE LOVE with my (now) legally married HUSBAND, lover and friend of thirty-three years. I guess she doesn't remember when HER people were considered three-fifths human, or when HER people went to jail for marrying outside their race. Why is it that when any minority starts to make progress, they seemingly have to find another minority to oppress?

Posted by: rusty44 | October 27, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Alexander made it crystal clear at last night's hearing that she is going to vote against same sex marriage.

For Thomas, the protections for religious organizations are already in the bill as presented, but I imagine they'll get strengthened somewhat in the final negotiations to help make the less onerous to those who oppose SSM (it won't make it acceptable to them, but it will at least reinforce their 1st Amendment guaranteed right to enforce their own religious views within their own property and congregations).

I'm not sure why you started the article with "there may be" another vote, though, when it's plainly clear that this is going to pass the council.

Posted by: legalmoose | October 27, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing, I couldn't help but notice at Sunday's anti-gay marriage rally; why were there so many Christian, never-married, more-than-one-child single mothers? Are they really that shallow and desperate for a man? :(

Posted by: 424me | October 27, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It is so simple. If you don't approve of same-sex marriage, don't get one. If you lead a church which doesn't approve, don't perform them. Other than that, stay out of the way - this issue doesn't affect you.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | October 27, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

rusty44, that is a rediculous argument. You are in your situation by choice. Black people were born that way. You have a choice to not be homosexual but no one has the choice to not be black.

Posted by: johnmoran1 | October 27, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess she doesn't remember when HER people were considered three-fifths human, or when HER people went to jail for marrying outside their race. Why is it that when any minority starts to make progress, they seemingly have to find another minority to oppress?

Posted by: rusty44 | October 27, 2009 1:13 PM

=================================================

Race and homosexuality are not the same thing and to equate the civil rights movement from SLAVERY to where black people are now is not only rediculous but insulting to every black person.

Being black is not a perversion, homosexuality is.

Civil unions , yes, marriage between the same sex NO!

ONLY and man and a woman can be married. Anything else is a perversion.

Posted by: MUPPET | October 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Same sex unions can never be true marriages by definition. It will be a sad day when it is approved - but one that will come. Rest assured that little by little you are wearing down the wills of the weak and they are beginning to accept this deviance as a normal life. This world belongs to the devil and he himself is imposing his will on the weak of this world.

Posted by: johnmoran1 | October 27, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing, I couldn't help but notice at Sunday's anti-gay marriage rally; why were there so many Christian, never-married, more-than-one-child single mothers? Are they really that shallow and desperate for a man? :(

Posted by: 424me | October 27, 2009 1:35 PM
===========================================

Even if the ladies are desperate for men, you shouldn't consider yourself one if you are homosexual. What good would it be to her since you don't know how to truly be with a woman. Also, isn't it bold of you to assume that the ladies are single with children out of wedlock? Again another weak argument.

Posted by: johnmoran1 | October 27, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

*Sigh*

Another day, and the same tired straw man argument - "gays chose to be gay" - gets trotted out, despite having been disproven time and time again by decades upon decades of peer reviewed research. How sad.

You're allowed to think whatever you like. It's your right to believe that there's some grand conspiracy agenda that the LGBTs are all secretly collaborating on. You're more than welcome to attend whatever fire and brimstone church you like without having to worry your little head that it'll be invaded by all them uppity homos looking to force your pastor to marry them. It's all in the First Amendment, and nobody's trying to take it from you.

If that's the life you want, then have it, but leave the rest of us (and our rights) alone.

Posted by: ModestProposal | October 27, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Homosexual individuals do not "choose" to be gay any more than heterosexual individuals "choose" to be straight. Being attracted to someone of the same sex comes just as naturally to gays as being attracted to someone of the opposite sex is to those of us who are straight.

Do people really believe otherwise?!

Maybe it really is easier just to think that all gays choose to be gay out of spite toward God. Yeah, that MUST be it.

Posted by: tigerlily1025 | October 27, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Leaglemoose,

I was at the hearing the whole time, and I think that Ms. Alexander's position was anything but clear. Sometimes, it seemed like her position changed mid-sentence. I agree that she seems likely to go the anti-ssm direction, but really, she seemed to flounder a lot, especially when talking to Ward 7 gay residents.

Posted by: DCCharles | October 27, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Ummm... Let me get this straight (no pun intended): We should not allow homosexuals to get married because a group of people heard a voice in their head that claimed it was god telling them that homosexuals are evil. Again: "Christianity isn't a religion, it's a mental disorder!"

Posted by: kcharloff | October 27, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Alexander's vote will come down to pure politics. I think she understands that opposition to gay marriage is morally wrong, but just can't stop thinking about the next election.

Posted by: streff | October 28, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

It really is astonishing that people in 2009 are STILL holding onto the ludicrous idea that people choose their sexual orientation. NO ONE gets to choose their sexuality. Straight people DO NOT make an educated decision to be attracted to the opposite sex. That would mean that they had sex with men and women, then they decided to be straight. Common sense tell you it doesn't work that way. Of course, these are the same people that think that gay people were originally straight. How unbelievable stupid to think that straight people suddenly decide to become gay. Why would ANYONE do that on purpose? The people that believe this, never have an answer to that question. That pretty much says it all doesn't it?

Posted by: obtusegoose | October 28, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I happened to be walking by the Love-fest on Sunday...the anti same sex marriage crowd.
I believe the first minister started shouting 'untruths'right of the bat...that gays choose that 'life style', and that gays can be 'cured'. Of course the crowd was yes siring all over the place. Why is it so hard for hetros to believe that gay people did not chose to be gay...they choose to act on it, but they were born with that sexual orientation. Why should gay folks have to chose to be something they will Never be? You only have one try at life..you should live it honestly and not be miserable trying to please those hetros who are So uneasy around gays. Seems to be if you know what you like gay folks wouldn't upset you so much.
I suspected some of the more vocal folks live in Maryland. MYOB. This is a DC decision.
As a 5th generation Washingtonian, I think we need to remember seperation of church and state...equal rights for All DC citizens. If you dont 'approve' of same sex marriage..don't marry someone of the same sex.

Posted by: irish12288 | October 28, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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