January 06, 2007

Is the Main Obstacle to Gay Marriage in DC the Gay Community?

That's the opinion of blogger Chris Crain, and his opinion is an educated one. Until recently, he was the editor in chief of the Washington Blade. He writes:

When it comes to legal recognition for gay couples, the District of Columbia already ranks very high. Washington's "domestic partnerships" offer many of the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, including child support, alimony, inheritance, legal standing to sue for wrongful death, immunity from testimony against a partner, automatic power of attorney for financial, medical and legal matters, and more.

Believe it or not, in Washington, D.C., of all places, the politicians aren't the problem. It's the gays — or more accurately, the local gay activists. Or to put it even more accurately, the few local and very vocal gay activists who make up the D.C. Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance.

For the most part, GLAA's leaders (since it has almost no active membership, per se) are old-old school. They have a long track record of lobbying local politicians, and they do it very well. They are smart and effective, at least on the battles they choose to fight.

But when it comes to marriage, GLAA's leaders have long suffered a failure of imagination and of courage. Their excuse has been the District's unique status in between that of a city and a state. Unlike other jurisdictions, the laws passed by the D.C. Council and signed by the mayor are subject to review by the Congress, which can effectively veto any law with which it disagrees.

The "activists" in GL"A"A seem far more interested in finding new homes for the seedy strip clubs displaced by the city's new baseball stadium than they are in marriage. In fact, therein may lie the problem. GLAA's silver-haired leadership probably relates more to those who ventured in to the now defunct Glorious Health & Amusement Club (a.k.a. the Glory Hole) than young D.C. gay couples aching to marry.

Being a native of the DC area myself, I understand how difficult it is to effect real change in the District. I hope there is an infusion of new blood that might change the perspective of the GLAA leadership and focus on winning legal equality instead of where they are going to party.


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  3. My comment isn't about this particular post but gay marriage in general. In the past, homosexuality was not as accepted as it is today. People are opening their minds and becoming more tolerant, and as a result it is gaining acceptance. People are realizing that love transcends such minor details as gender, and that it is not their place to judge who one cannot marry. But why not extend the tolerance to other types of couples? What if two brothers love each other very much and want to get married? Is that any different? My point is that people should either accept marriage rights for all types of non-traditional couples, or oppose them for all couples except those that consist of an unrelated man and woman.

  4. Marriage, a religious institution?

    I have difficulty trying to understand why allowing gays to use the term “marriage” rather than “unions” to be such a sticking point. I have heard it often said by people that are opposed to gay marriage; say that marriage is a religious institution. Or using the term marriage will somehow make a mockery of traditional marriages. If marriage were indeed a religious institution, why then are heterosexual couples afforded such a wide variety of ways of getting married that have no religious affiliation whatsoever? Heterosexual atheists are allowed to marry and they certainly don’t want any religious overtones to their marriages. Straight couples can get married by the justice of the piece; they can get married by a ship captain on a cruise ship. They can be married underwater or on a mountaintop, it seems to me it just doesn’t matter and that there are no restrictions. The list goes on and on therefore, making the argument of about marriage being a religious institution absurd.

    I have also heard many opponents of gay marriage say that same sex marriage will make a mockery of traditional marriages, meaning I suppose between a man and a woman. I think that looking closely at all of the statistics about the success of traditional marriages; they seem to be doing a damn good job of their own, making a mockery of the institution of marriage. Then when one looks at the statistics of how many straight lay men and woman who have extramarital affairs doesn’t look so good either not to mention many couples of the clergy who seem also not to have the greatest track record. So then, what do the opponents of gay marriage really mean by saying that same sex marriages would make a mockery of traditional marriage? One doesn’t have to be a sociologist or have a degree in statistics to understand that allowing gay marriages to exist would hurt no one. In fact gay marriage would likely cause gays to have longer lasting relationships. There has been a common complaint generally spouted out by the straight population, that gay relationships don’t seem last very long. Statistics do however bear out one thing in regards to marriage verses just living together as a couple, and that is that couples that are married verses couples just living together, do last longer if they are married. Perhaps this could be the answer in motivating gay couples to work harder at their relationships if they were legally bound by a legitimate contract, rather than just being able to just walk away as so often happens when they hit some rough waters as all relationships do at some point whether gay or straight. Thank you, Aaron Jason Silver Saugatuck, Mi 49408 269 561 6789 www.aaronjasonsilver.com

  5. warmongers,
    I can understand where you're coming from, but I have to say this...I love all three of my brothers, but I don't want to marry any one of them. Marital love is different than any other kind of love. It's that way for a reason, too. Basically, the reason many folks are against gay marriage is that they feel it will open the door to ideas like yours. They are terrified of grandmothers marrying under age grandchildren. Or they fear siblings marrying each other. This is my own feeling, but I think there has to be a line drawn between marital love and other kinds of love. I can love my friend very much, but that doesn't mean I need to marry him or her. My partner, on the other hand, is the person I want to spend my life with and share my most intimate moments. She is the only person I would want to marry. Anyone else pales in comparison.