Alert: D.C. DOMA introduced in Congress
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Alert: D.C. DOMA introduced in Congress

From:Mitch Wood
Sent:Friday, May 22, 2009 9:02 AM
To:GLAA Members
Subject:Alert: D.C. DOMA introduced in Congress

Greetings from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.


Yesterday, several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced the introduction of the D.C. Defense of Marriage Act, which would define marriage in the District of Columbia as between a man and a woman. At their press conference they were accompanied by Bishop Harry Jackson, the pastor of a Beltsville, Maryland church who has led recent inflammatory rallies against D.C. marriage equality. The bill would block implementation of a bill recently passed overwhelmingly by the D.C. Council and signed by Mayor Fenty to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

Joining Bishop Jackson at a news conference Thursday afternoon were the following members of the congressional Republican Study Committee: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Tom Price (R-Georgia), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), and Rep. John Fleming (R-Louisiana). The lead sponsors of the legislation are Rep. Jordan and Rep. Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma), who are joined by 28 co-sponsors.

This is not the first time a D.C. DOMA bill has been introduced. The late Rep. Joanne Davis (R-Virginia), who died in 2007, used to introduce such a bill at the beginning of each Congress. Like those earlier efforts, we expect the latest attack on the District’s gay-affirming policies to go nowhere.

Sultan Shakir, Regional Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign, told us yesterday, "This is likely to go nowhere, but we will monitor." HRC has worked with us for years to defend D.C. from anti-gay and anti-democratic actions by Congress, which have usually taken the form of amendments to the District's annual appropriations bill, which Congress must approve. We look forward to working with HRC and our other allies to beat back any such efforts.

While there is no cause for alarm, we are saddened that Bishop Jackson and his allies, in their obsession with inflaming people against our city’s gay citizens, have so eagerly allied themselves with extremists who seek to substitute their intolerant views for decisions by our city's duly elected representatives. Jackson and his cohorts have betrayed D.C. Home Rule and dishonored the memory of generations of people who struggled for the full enfranchisement of the people of our city. As Jeffrey Richardson, President of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, said late yesterday, “Today Bishop Jackson has shown that he does not stand with and for the people of the District of Columbia, but I have confidence that District residents will continue to fight for our self-determination and equality for every resident of this great city.”

We already have assurances from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she opposes any congressional action to overturn the marriage-recognition legislation, now in its congressional review period and expected to become law on July 6.

We are working in coalition with several local and national groups committed to GLBT equality, in addition to our good friend and champion, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), to ensure that both the currently-pending bill and the full marriage equality bill expected later this year will withstand any attempts to overturn them at the local or congressional level. We will keep you apprised of developments.


Mitch Wood
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.

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