Summersgill slams Nickles on DP parentage bill
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Summersgill slams Nickles on DP parentage bill

From:Bob Summersgill
Sent:Friday, February 20, 2009 5:42 PM
To:Phil Mendelson; Valerie Scott; Brian Moore; Laurie Ensworth; Wayne Witkowski; Tonya Sapp; Benidia Rice; Christopher Dyer; Shomari Wade; Rick Rosendall; Rudolf Schreiber; Nancy Polikoff; Shannon Minter; Liz Seaton; Mike DeBonis;
Subject:RE: Bill 18-66, Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act 2009

Councilmember Mendelson-

I would like to add my support to Rick Rosendall's email below. The Attorney General has been asserting a number of claims that are refuted by the facts. As you are with other actions of the Attorney General, I am appalled.

The Attorney General's letter conveys a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue. There has been no problem with similar legislation in the seven states for the entire extent of the Bush Administration. A number of other states—including Hawaii, Washington, and New Mexico—are poised to do the same thing. No one has ever lost federal funding by recognizing domestic partners, civil unions partners, or same-sex married couples as parents. If it didn’t happen under the Bush Administration, it certainly isn’t going to happen under Obama.

Mr. Nickles said at our first meeting that he didn't know anything about this area of law. Fair enough. Unfortunately, the attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General are equally unfamiliar with basic legal concepts and have repeatedly demonstrated hostility to the very idea of gay people forming families and having children. The OAG refused for months to even discuss the issue with any of the seven the states with similar laws. They wrote that birth certificates would need to be modified without bothering to see that the certificates are gender-neutral and require no changes. They routinely dismissed the idea that gay people even have families. They dismissed domestic partnerships as trivial and inconsequential. In this way, they are asserting their biases and prejudices over the laws of the District.

The lawyers supporting the legislation who have worked with the Council Staff on the other hand are some of the leading experts in the country on gay families and parenting issue.

Putting aside a long history of the failures of the OAG to enforce the laws of the District to protect GLBT people, the current Attorney General:

1) Proposed regulations to undermine the Human Rights Act and strip away protections guaranteed under the law through regulations.

2) Promotes discriminatory polices with the Department of Corrections that effectively encourage the rape of transgender inmates, and ensures that they will be isolated and mistreated.

3) Refuses to certify domestic partners and civil unions from other states and countries for recognition as Domestic Partners in the District. This makes them as legal strangers if they come to D.C. Passage of the Omnibus Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2008 (Law 17-231) added a new section to the D.C. Code, §32-702(i), which reads, “Relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District.”

4) Criminally charged people with Solicitation for Lewd and Immoral Purposes more than two years after the Council repealed the law.

5) Refused to appear at Council hearings on important bills, including every DP bill in the prior term, especially this one, nor allow other Administration officials to testify.

6) Contacted the Bush Administration seeking an adverse ruling against gay parents.

I would be more forgiving if the Attorney General and his staff were merely incompetent or negligent, but the pattern of attacks on GLBT people leads me to believe that they are malicious. By delaying, and now attempting to derail this important legislation, Attorney General Nickles is deliberately hurting families in the District.

I ask that you stand up for the rights of gay people against Mayor Fenty and Attorney General Nickles by proceeding promptly to mark up Bill 18-66, the "Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act of 2009."

Thank you.

-Bob Summersgill

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