City Desk

Barry on D.C. Gay Marriage: “May Have a Civil War”

Marion Barry expounded for reporters on gay marriage after today's council meeting. He minced no words on the potential reception to these developments in his ward.

"All hell's gonna break loose," he says. "We may have a civil war. The black community is so adamant against this."

He also explained that his failure to take the marriage measure off the consent calendar wasn't because he didn't know what he was voting on, but because he had been distracted. "I didn't know that [Vincent Gray] was moving that fast," he says.

Councilmembers David Catania, Jim Graham, and Jack Evans all voted not to reconsider the consent agenda vote. Barry said next time they want to reconsider a measure, he'll be voting no. "What's good for the goose is good for the gander," he said.

Barry had strong words for those who protested after the vote. "That kind of conduct sets it all back," he says.

He went on to describe how he believes that the vast majority of his constituency is opposed to gay marriage. "Leadership can rise above that and should rise above that," he said, but not on this issue. LL asked him why he not pursue a Nixon-to-China strategy on the issue, as possibly the only politician in his ward with the credibility to do so. Said Barry, "I don't want to be Nixon. I'm not doing this politically."

As for his receptiveness to future overtures on the issue, he says, "I'm always open to growth and development. That's what democracy is for."

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