Congressmen Seek to Prevent Gay Marriage in D.C.
Two congressmen today announced that they will seek to prevent the District from recognizing or performing same-sex marriages.
Introducing the bill are Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio, pictured top) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla., bottom). It's important to note that the legislation would define marriage in the District as between a man and a woman. It is not a resolution specifically disapproving the city's action this month to recognize gay marriages performed out of state.
Politico's Alex Isenstadt was at the press conference today:
“Nothing can be more important than the sanctity of our families,” Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told reporters.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.) introduced the bill today, which aims to define marriage in D.C. as a “union of one man and one woman.”
“The family is truly the foundational institution of our nation, and marriage is its cornerstone,” Jordan said today in a statement.
Jordan unveiled the bill today in a press conference. He was joined by a group of pastors and religious leaders. It's not clear if there's any legislative vehicle for the anti-gay-marriage bill or whether Democrats would even allow a vote on the measure.
Isenstadt says the bill is supported by a "handful of House Republicans and two Democrats." One of those Republicans is our hamburger-loving friend Jason Chaffetz of Utah.
UPDATE, 4:35 P.M.: The bill is called the "D.C. Defense of Marriage Act."
Joining Jordan, Boren, Chaffetz, and Price at the presser today was none other than Bishop Harry Jackson, the pastor of a Maryland church who has been the most visible opponent of D.C. same-sex marriage.
A press release from Jordan's office says this is a "one-page bill" that states, “That in the District of Columbia, for all legal purposes, ‘marriage’ means the union of one man and one woman." The bill, according to the release, will have "30 bi-partisan co-sponsors."
The Democrats supporting the measure are Boren and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina.
UPDATE, 4:42 P.M.: Jeff Richardson, president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, is first out with a statement, and it's a good one: "The residents of the District of Columbia are accustomed to some members of congress using the District as a political playground to earn points back in their home districts. But today, it is Bishop Harry Jackson and other DC, and metro DC, based clergy who participated in today’s press conference, that have shown total disrespect for District residents’ historical struggle for self-determination....Jackson has shown that he does not stand with and for the people of the District of Columbia, but I have confidence that District residents will continue to fight for our self-determination and equality for every resident of this great city.”
Richardson was not at the press conference and does not know who the other local clergy were. LL is trying to run that down now.
UPDATE, 4:50 P.M.: Also said to be in attendance: Rev. Anthony Evans, an associate minister at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Brightwood Park. He was also one of the ministers who stormed the John A. Wilson Building hallway immediately after the council vote.
UPDATE, 5:30 P.M.: Additional stories have been posted by AP, UPI, and Cleveland Plain Dealer, who notes that Jackson said, "I do not want my grandkids sitting in a classroom hearing about Heather has two mommies, or the prince and the prince grow up to marry and become the king and the king."
UPDATE, 5:50 P.M.: A response from Eleanor Holmes Norton's office: "[N]othing has changed, and we expect nothing to change, since the Congresswoman released her last statement," says spokesperson Sonsyrea Tate Montgomery. In that statement, Norton said, "I do not believe that a serious attempt to overturn the Council bill will be made or would be successful."