GLAA alert: meeting set on proposed anti-gay initiative
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GLAA alert: meeting set on proposed anti-gay initiative

From:Richard J. Rosendall
Sent:Wednesday, August 19, 2009 1:37 PM
To:GLAA Members
Subject:FW: ANC Letter part 2


Attached is a further letter from Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bob King announcing an organizing meeting this Saturday to move forward with plans for a ballot initiative to define marriage in the District of Columbia as between one man and one woman.

There is little new in this letter that GLAA did not address in our reply letter to ANC commissioners last Friday (which I posted to this list and which can be found on our website at, so I will only say that King's charge that the Council acted "clandestinely" in passing legislation to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions is false. Not only was the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act (which is now law) passed in a public Council meeting, but the protest rally held on Freedom Plaza by Bishop Harry Jackson and others demonstrates that it was no secret. The notion that a direct vote by the people is required in order for a decision on a contentious issue to be legitimate makes us wonder why Mr. King considers the ANCs fit to make decisions.

Given Mr. King's failure to respond to GLAA's arguments, it is fairly clear that he seeks to bypass our representative government not because its actions are somehow illegitimate but because he doesn't lilke the results and hopes to win by inflaming public passions. We think better of our fellow citizens than that; but we also think there are better things on which our communities can spend our time and resources than a divisive ballot measure, and we are very pleased that GLAA's successful legislative effort 30 years ago to block discriminatory referenda and initiatives has borne fruit.

King disingenuously continues to pretend that his proposed initiative is not motivated by anti-gay animus, as if only same-sex marriage demands a plebiscite. But since he makes that claim, those of you who wish to attend the meeting on Saturday should feel free to do so. If you do, you might want to arm yourself with the talking points that we have posted to Keep in mind that King has not substantiated his claim that an initiative on this issue is okay where the referendum was not. The same content restrictions apply to both; and the D.C. marriage law has been modified in recent years to make it gender neutral, in preparation for the full marriage equality bill that will be introduced this fall. We have received encouraging feedback from ANC commissioners from across the city who disagree with Mr. King, but it might be useful for him to hear some dissenting voices at his own meeting.

Best, Rick Rosendall
VP for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

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