DC Marriage Equality Act Faces Threats From Congress


Last week, Washington D.C. Councilman David Catania introduced The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, a bill that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples in the District.  Unfortunately, although the bill is said to have the support of 10 out of 13 D.C. council members, the fight for marriage equality in D.C. may just be beginning.  This is because, unlike any other local government in the country, D.C. is subject to control by the federal government thanks to Home Rule Act, enacted in 1973, which gives the federal government ultimate jurisdiction over the District’s local government. 

It now appears that some conservative members of Congress are gearing up to abuse this power in order to deprive D.C.’s citizens of the right to have their duly elected officials expand civil rights and liberties in D.C.  That’s right; the same Representatives who claim to support “states’ rights” are now planning to use the heavy hand of the federal government to interfere in local affairs. 

This approach reveals the true nature of modern hate-based conservatism – conservatives simply believe that power should lie with the states when they states are going to limit gay rights, but the power should lie with the federal government if the states are planning to expand gay rights.  This only makes sense when you realize that the conservative claim of standing for “states’ rights” is, and always has been, nothing more than a pretense that allows them to couch their hateful ideologies in less offensive terminology.  It was true nearly 30 years ago, when Ronald Reagan gave a wink and a nod to the hate-filled core of his party by saying he supported “states’ rights” during his first post-convention speech outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi, where 3 civil rights workers infamously were murdered in 1964, as it is today.  The movement that Reagan built was only concerned with the rights of the rich, the white, and the straight and, apparently, nothing has changed. 

Furthermore, we here at SIECUS, which has an office here in D.C., have a special concern for our countless co-workers, friends, colleagues and partners, gay and straight, who live in the District and will be directly affected if Congress should decide to override the City Council’s vote.  It is a shame that the fate of a bill of such magnitude and consequence rests in the hands of out-of-town legislators who are ill-equipped to decide what is best for D.C.  It’s time that we all stand up, in the District and across the nation, not for states’ rights, but for human rights.  

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  • anonymous99

    You should hope these conservatives stop this marriage act in DC. Civil marriage is the most vile institution in America. For the life of me I can’t figure out why gays and lesbians want this disaster heaped upon their relationships. Don’t be fooled by the 50% civil marriage failure rate. Marriage isn’t nearly that successful. If it weren’t for post-marital child abduction arrangements, and outright theft of savings and income from the bread-winning spouse the divorce rate would be ridiculously high. DC should just call this the gay and lesbian golddigging enabling act. Or how about the gay and lesbian working-persons enslavement act. Maybe the welfare act for gay and lesbian moochers. Really this act is insane. Are there any gay and lesbians in DC who REALLY know what marriage is?

  • frolicnaked

    For the life of me I can’t figure out why gays and lesbians want this disaster heaped upon their relationships.

    How about the very basic ideas of equality and non-descrimination — the right not to have our choices limited on the sole basis of sexual orientation?

  • anonymous99

    frolicnaked, do you even know what civil marriage is?  Could you tell me what you think it is?

  • frolicnaked

    Please don’t insult my intelligence. Civil marriage is marriage as a legal and governmental institution, separate from the idea of marriage as a religious institution.

     

    Whether you personally think having the right to marry is a good choice or not, it’s discriminatory to grant or deny that right on the basis of sexual orientation. It’s also condescending to assume that since you believe the instituation is a "disaster," it’s okay to apply your opinion out to an entire group of people. 

  • anonymous99

    That’s what I thought.  You have NO IDEA what marriage is.  That’s OK. Most people don’t.  It is not my opinion that marriage is a disaster.  The statistics are clear.  50% of marriages end in failure.  But, again, believe me that doesn’t even begin to reflect the amount of damage this institution has done to people and their relationships.   It’s not even close.  There are countless thousands of Americans who are hopelessly trapped in their marriages for fear of the one thing in America that’s worse than marriage – divorce.  Imagine being stuck in a relationship with someone you loathe.  You act like you have feelings for this person every day in the hopes they won’t divorce you.  Marriage is NOT about love and committment.  It’s about one thing – money.  It’s a welfare system designed to benefit the lower or non-earning spouse.  Marital laws distribute money both during and after the marriage.  That’s mostly it!  Everything else is really immaterial.  By all means if you’re lazy or you don’t make much money find someone who makes a lot of money and marry them – be the best ball-and-chain you can be.  If you have a work ethic and sense of responsibility along with a good income, trust me, you’ll have a lot of moochers and golddiggers knocking down your door.    Don’t just take my word for it.  Do your own research.

  • jayn

    You’re projecting your own biases here.  There are some people who marry for money.  There are others who marry for love, and still others who do for convenience.  In many relationships, both spouses work, and even when that isn’t the case it can be mutually agreed upon that one stays home.  (Hell, for that matter, even when it isn’t mutually agreed upon, it isn’t necessarily the homemaker taking advantage of things.  See: abuse, creating dependance).

     

    I DID NOT marry for money, and I resent the implication that I did.  I married because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man.  All gays want are the same legal advantages that I have.

  • anonymous99

    "I married because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man."  You could have done that without a marriage license.  Love has nothing to do with marriage.  Having a committed relationship has nothing to do with marriage.  Marriage is just a legal contract between you, your husband and the state which forces him to take care of you, even if the marriage dissolves.  It is nothing more than that.  Being at home and not making an income gives you an array of financial protections.  Yes, that is a legal advantage you have because of the marriage license that you would otherwise not have.  What exactly are the legal advantages your husband has because he’s married?  If you’re talking about hospital visitation and inheritance rights those things could easily be provided to gays without the financial entanglement of marriage.  There are, in fact, no legal advantages in marriage if you work.  You are merely an income stream for this country’s largest (by far) welfare program. 

  • frolicnaked

    I’m happy to engage in meaningful on-topic discussion here. However, that’s going to require your comments to stop being insulting, misogynistic, and derailing.

  • jayn

    Actually, I couldn’t have been with him without getting married (immigration issues–the USA wouldn’t let me in otherwise), and we’re far from the first or last couple to get married for legal reasons, which also includes things like health insurance coverage.  You’re right, a couple doesn’t have to be married to be committed–but if they are committed, sometimes the advantages of tying the knot are too good to pass up.  Right now straight people have this option–gays don’t.

     

    (Anyways, why do you assume that he’s working and I’m not?  It could be the other way around.  We could both be working, which is pretty common these days.  One of us could be supporting the other through school, for our mutual benefit after graduation.  One of us could be managing the home so the other can focus on his/her career–again, mutual benefits.)

     

    Honestly, I feel like the religious right is trying to screw gays any way they can.  If we allow them to get married–we’re destroying marriage.  If we abolish civil marriage–we’re destroying marriage.  And the seperate-but-equal idea (in this case, civil unions) doesn’t have a good track record.

  • anonymous99

    I don’t hate women I hate marriage.  Believe me, I’ve spoken to women over the years who are getting fleeced by their ex-husbands (there are male golddiggers – see K-Fed).  This works both ways.  And in a gay marriage we obviously don’t have a male/female component.  My truth-telling regarding marriage has nothing to do with gender.  All I’m trying to tell you is marriage is very likely NOT what you think it is.  Marriage is mainly about the distribution of income and wealth.  The $ flows from the earner to the non-earner.  If you don’t think this creates an unbelievable amount of tension, bad-blood, and resentment in what would otherwise be a healthy relationship you just don’t want to see it.  Marriage DESTROYS relationships and the people in them.  That is the truth.

  • anonymous99

    Jayn, the religious right IS trying to screw (good word choice :o) ) gays.  No doubt about it.  But in this instance they’d be doing them a favor.  Civil marriage should be abolished at the government level and given back to the religious institutions where it belongs.  What couples (both gay and straight) need is a legal framework that makes it easy for them to get healthcare, have hospital visitation, pass on estates, etc.  I think we can all agree on this.  This union should be made easy to get out of by either party and have no legal post-separation impact.  If you’re religious feel free to get married in your church or whatever but this marriage should have NO legal ramifications whatsoever.

  • jayn

    Not that I disagree with you, but try to convince a conservative Christian that we should abolish civil marriage and see how far you get.  We’re going to have to fight against them either way, and I suspect that allowing gays to marry would be the easier process.  Besides, it’s not like we can’t change the way civil marriage works without scrapping it–it’s just a legal term, really.

  • anonymous99

    "…I suspect that allowing gays to marry would be the easier process."  First, to trade getting the civil benefits of marriage like inheritence rights and the like (which I know are important and I believe ALL people should have) for the destructive downside of marriage is a bargain with the devil.  Second, it would be MUCH easier for gays to simply fight for these civil benefits apart from marriage than to fight with the conservatives over marriage.  I know that most straight people who get married really don’t have a clue as to what they’re getting into.  I sure know I didn’t.  I suspect gays don’t understand this either.  The fight for gay marriage is just misguided.