More reactions to the city
council's first SSM resolution.
Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) authorized
the "JAMA" resolution on 2009-MAY-06. It provides that loving, committing
same-sex couples in the District of Columbia (DC) who have been legally married
in other jurisdictions will have their marriages recognized in DC.
Rod Dreher, a conservative blogger at Beliefnet.com is personally opposed
to marriage equality for both loving, committed same-sex and opposite-sex couples,
However, he said that the same-sex legislation in Vermont and DC show the
democratic process at work. He said:
"Vermont just got it the right way: democratically, through legislative
action. A social experiment as radical as same-sex marriage should not be
attempted without democratic consensus.
Although Vermont's legislation was initially vetoed by the Republican
governor, the veto was overridden by a more than 2/3rds vote in both the House and
Dreher speculates that the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately to rule
on same-sex marriages and believes that that the court will most likely find them constitutional.
"And that being the case, it might be better for my side if it gets done
sooner rather than later. If done sooner, there might still be enough backlash
left in the American people to get a constitutional amendment passed erecting
a high barrier or protection around religious institutions."
Dreher's comment reflects a common fear of religious and social conservatives
that clergy will eventually be prosecuted on human rights charges for
refusing to marry same-sex couples. Some clergy have historically refused to
marry certain couples because of their age, immaturity, race, religious
affiliation, presence of disability, and probably other grounds. None to our
knowledge has ever been prosecuted for this refusal in the past. But many
conservatives feel that same-sex couples will launch lawsuits against
non-cooperating clergy if SSM were to become generally available.
There are also concerns that:
Churches will be be charged with human rights violation for not allowing
same-sex married couples to hold their receptions in church halls.
Wedding photographers who supply a service to the general public might be
charged if they refuse to take photos at a same-sex wedding.
Other service companies will also be charged.
Andrew Sullivan, an openly gay conservative blogger on The
Atlantic's web site, said that the first vote by the Council
"... enough reason to celebrate. I have a chance to be legally married in the
place I live for eight months of the year. Now, just think for a minute how
many heterosexuals have ever asked themselves this question -- even
immigrating to foreign countries, let alone moving from one state to another.
This is enough for me right now."
With an obvious reference to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Sullivan
"It has been such a long journey, but we can
see the mountaintop now." 1
Comment by Barrett Duke: He is the vice president for public
policy for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the
Southern Baptist Convention -- a fundamentalist Christian
denomination. He described the council vote as:
"deeply disappointing. ...
The D.C. council has decided to join the handful of states who believe that
marriage can mean anything they want it to mean. This is a sad day for the
families and children of the District of Columbia. Now the U.S. Congress
will have to decide whether or not to let this deplorable decision stand.
Soon, the nation will know just exactly where their elected representatives
stand on the same-sex marriage question."
Actually, American states and territories have
been defining marriage as "anything they want it to mean" for centuries.
Prior to 1958, inter-racial couples were not allowed to marry in some
states. A century earlier, African American couples were not allowed to
marry in some areas of the country. Also through much of the 19th century, one man could
multiple women in Utah Territory; even today, the practice of
polygyny in Utah and other states with a large Mormon
population is widespread and largely ignored by the state.
We suspect that Duke is wrong on the happiness factor. I expect that it will be a very happy day
indeed for same-sex couples and their
children in Washington DC. They will have the option of being recognized as
ordinary married couples.
Ed Stein: Stein
commented on legislative and court activity across the U.S. during a five day interval in early 2009-APR.
The legislature in Vermont, the Supreme Court in Iowa, and the city council in
Washington DC all approved the recognition of same-sex marriage in their jurisdiction,
He wrote in the Huffington Post -- a liberal news source:
"Vermont, Iowa, and D.C. show that we have reason to be optimistic even
after the voters of California took away full marriage equality only a few
months after it was awarded. Although I suspect the California Supreme Court
will uphold the constitutionality of Prop. 8 (while not invalidating the gay
marriages legally performed during that brief period), in the coming months,
the legislatures of Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York and New Hampshire may well
enact same-sex marriage laws."
"Regardless, there will continue to be a patchwork of recognition and
non-recognition of same-sex relationships across the land. Further, no matter
where in the U.S. you live, if you are in a same-sex relationship, because of
[the federal] DOMA, you won't get any of the [approximately 1,050] federal
benefits of marriage. And, even if DOMA is repealed, there will still be
patchwork, because so many states have constitutional amendments that refuse
recognition to same-sex marriages or other forms of legally-recognized
"It has been an exciting week for same-sex marriage. I expect some more
good news in the next several months, but I also expect some setbacks. For
now, advocates of legal recognition for same-sex relationships should adopt a
nuanced state-by-state strategy, pushing for full marriage equality in some
states, civil unions in others, and limited recognition in the rest."