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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GOP Congress Attempts to Repeal D.C. Gay Marriage

By Steve Weinstein -

U.S. Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
U.S. Rep Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Congress is once again opening one of the thorniest issues that has plagued America almost since the founding of the republic: how much of a voice the citizens of the nation’s capital should be given in governing themselves.

The latest salvo in the ongoing war between residents of the District of Columbia comes from Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. The Hill is reporting that Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who heads the right-wing Republican Study Committee, will push for legislation repealing gay marriage in the District.

This is despite a the Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal from marriage-equality opponents. The court did not comment, but Metro Weekly pointed out that the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate is unlikely to take up the issue, and besides, President Barack Obama would be almost certain to veto it.

R. Clarke Cooper, who heads the Log Cabin Republicans, expressed strong disapproval of the move to Metro Weekly (an Edge content partner). The Human Rights Campaign added that "the American people are certainly not clamoring for Congress to deny rights to people."

Jordan’s announcement once again brings to the fore the complaint that District residents suffer from the same "taxation without representation" that brought the United States into being. Democrats have long argued that the District should be granted the same representation as states.

As of now, the District has a nonvoting member in the House and no one in the Senate. Many observers ruefully note that, if the District weren’t so heavily Democrat (and black), the Republicans might be approaching the question differently.
EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007). 

Washington, D.C. became the first majority-minority jurisdiction to end marriage discrimination when it joined Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts in legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples. The first couples began marrying on March 9, 2010 after the marriage law was passed by an 11-2 vote of the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Adrian Fenty in a public ceremony at a historic D.C. church.
The freedom to marry in the Nation’s Capital has survived numerous legal attempts by the so-called National Organization for Marriage.
But, now conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives are planning to introduce legislation to repeal the freedom to marry in D.C. Because D.C. is not a state, Congress has oversight over the laws and budget of the District. This means that Congress can at will overturn any law including marriage it doesn't like.
Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, told a congressional newspaper that he will push for a vote to repeal the freedom to marry in D.C.
Tell Rep. Jordan to focus on rebuilding the American economy instead of launching attacks against gay and lesbian families.

Petition Text -

Don't Repeal Marriage in D.C.

Honorable Representative Jordan,
I read with great concern your statement about wanting to repeal the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian families in Washington, D.C. I am writing to tell you to focus on measures that will help, not hurt families including gay and lesbian families.

The law was passed by City’s legally elected City Council and signed into law by its mayor.

Two national polls conducted by CNN and the Associated Press show that a majority of Americans now believe that same-sex couples should have the freedom to marry.

Americans are looking at their gay neighbors, colleagues, and family members and realizing that they deserve the same fairness, the same treatment, and the same respect as everyone else.

And in places like D.C where gay couples are able to marry, the sky has not fallen, and families have been helped, with no one hurt.

Please focus on rebuilding the economy and creating jobs and other real issues that are impacting American families.

Thank you,
[Your name]

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