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A proposal (of a different kind) at the same-sex marriage hearing

It's been the marriage proposal heard 'round the District.

Andrew Hertzberg popped the question Monday to partner Andy Rollman as he testified before a D.C. Council committee on a bill that would legalize same-sex nuptials in the District.

The proposal could be likened to seeing "Will You Marry Me?" on a JumboTron at a ball game. But Hertzberg's demonstration of commitment to Rollman was also part of a strategy by same-sex marriage supporters to show the "human side" of the issue to the public, said Nick McCoy, a field organizer for the Human Rights Campaign.

The public proposal has been a hit on blogs.

Advocates were strategic about the organization of its dozens of witnesses Monday, guiding them in their oral and written testimony.

Opposition to the bill, which the D.C. Council could pass by Christmas, have vowed to fight for a referendum on gay marriage or attempt to apply the federal Defense of Marriage Act to ban same-sex marriage in the city.

The bill has generated lots of interest. Council member Phil Mendelson, chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, had to split a hearing into two days so that
hundreds of people could testify. Part one of the hearing was Oct. 26.

McCoy said Hertzberg told him about his plan. "I knew. Andy (Rollman) didn't know," McCoy said of the proposal.

"What better way than for everyone to see it on a momentous occasion," McCoy said. "It's a grand thing to show your love, declare your love and have it respected like everyone else's."

McCoy said Monday's hearing was also used to show the support of the black community for the bill, rounding up African American witnesses to testify. He also said advocates wanted to show that religious leaders are also supportive.

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 2, 2009; 5:05 PM ET
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I'm really surprised that people don't see this for what it is. It is a SEPARATION of church and state.

Marriage is a LEGAL definition, not a religious one. Religious leaders should not weigh in on this subject. Their moral voice should be silent on a civil issue.

What is marriage? It has traditionally been a legal union between men and women. The tradition is well past it's prime and should be discarded. It serves no purpose in our society, and it does not harm the ideals of marriage.

Allowing homosexuals to marry will not affect heterosexuals relationships. I don't know where people get the idea it would. What will it change? I can't see that it will do any harm. I only see benefit. Homosexual relationships being given the same rights and options that heterosexuals have.

The hate-mongers, for that is what they are, spit their poison rhetoric all over the place. They tell everyone that will stop and listen that giving homosexuals the right to marry and legitimize their unions will harm the American family.

They believe that allowing gays and lesbians to marry will "detach sexual fidelity from marriage." I don't know where they live, but since 50% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce, I'd say sexual fidelity left a long time ago. This goes to the antiquated belief that homosexuals are more promiscuous than heterosexuals. What a bunch of hooey!

Sexual fidelity has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It is the character of the individuals in a relationship that decides sexual fidelity.

Opponents are afraid of change. They are afraid that we might accept homosexuality as a normal thing. I don't understand why acceptance at best, and tolerance at worst, would be a harmful thing. Their reasoning is flawed.

Those who believe that homosexual marriage would be bad for children should walk through an orphanage. Why would a loving home where they see love between two adults be harmful to them? Why would living in an orphanage or shifted from foster home to foster home be better for them? Those people don't want what's best for children.

Some people want the law to be put on the ballot. Since when is it legal for the majority to discriminate against the minority? If slavery, women's right to vote, and voting rights for minorities had been put to the popular vote we'd be living on plantations and stuck in dead end jobs with white men telling us it was for our own good.

Gay marriage will not harm society. It will make it a better place to live.

Posted by: nailahjordan | November 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The last time I looked, gay white males were not the minority in this country. Why do gay white men consider themselves a minority? Whites still make up the majority in this country and white gay males practice racism towards their black gay brothers and sisters. They are now using gay blacks to join their crusade, but once it's over, black gays will get kicked to the curb and not be inclusive in the mostly gay white community in D.C. and across the U.S.

Posted by: illegalalien | November 3, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

What do you mean, "Why do gay white men consider themselves a minority"? Do gay white man now account for over 50% of the population? Are white men comprised of 50% gay men?

No! Talk some sense man!

Posted by: liberalsmakegreatlovers | November 3, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

liberalsmakegreatlovers, you are wrong. White gay men are still Caucasian in America and they are the majority race. This is still a mostly white country made up of white males and females. Forget white gay males sexuality, they are still white and most still oppress other non whites in the United States. How many gay white males date outside their race and are inclusive of black gays?

Posted by: illegalalien | November 4, 2009 4:02 AM | Report abuse

I was Andrew Hertzberg's partner for 21 years and 10 months. I would be careful gay community, we don't want this person as our "poster boy" for gay marriage. This is his third relationship in LESS than 2 years.

Posted by: Chefsinopoli | November 4, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse


I think someones exerting a little prejudice of their own. You assume all white men are the same, you ignore the fact gay men are familiar with having people talking down when they discuss them, to be threatened with physical violence.

So why do you expect the gay community to seggregate like that? The fact is it wont, keep in mind gay community does not specify gender or race. We don't "include" gay black men and women, they are as much a part of this as anyone.

How many interacial couples you ask? A significantly higher number then in hetero sexual couples though hindered by numbers.

"Forget white gay males sexuality"

That's a logical fallacy, because you're ignoring what makes them a minority in the first place.

By following your logic white women are not a minority because they are white, and black men are not because they are men. While we're at it, straight black women aren't because they're straight. That leaves black lesbians as the only minority group if we apply your logic to it's conclusion.

You cannot ignore what makes them a minority to try and claim they are not. Hell you accuse the gay community of descrimination when clearly you have your own. Not all white men are racist and you'll find the number of racists decreases dramatically in the gay caucasian population. I'm not saying there aren't some, but there ain't many.

Posted by: Shadenox | November 5, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

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