Don't Forget Gay Rights
Congratulations and thanks for your support of gay rights issues during the campaign.
Now that you've won, please don't follow the lead of so many other Democratic politicians who court gay votes and dollars and then forget us once elected. (After all, it was Bill Clinton, not George W. Bush, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act.) We know you're busy and made many promises on the road to City Hall, so here's a reminder of what you promised your gay constituents:
In 2004, D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti, who is gay, prepared a legal memo for Mayor Anthony Williams on whether D.C. law allows the city to recognize same-sex unions performed in Massachusetts. Williams has declined to release the memo, but we all know what it says. Last year, you pledged to make the memo's recommendation public upon becoming mayor. Honor that pledge.
You also said, "I believe that the government should never discriminate against people because of who they are. The state should make it possible for every committed couple to obtain an official civil marriage with all of the legal rights and responsibilities that married heterosexual couples currently enjoy." The fight for same-sex-marriage rights has been delayed in the District because politicians and activists have feared a backlash from the GOP-controlled Congress. But as Heidi Klum would say, "The Republicans are out!" So that excuse is gone. The City Council has the votes to approve a same-sex-marriage bill. The council should pass it and you should sign it. It's the right thing to do for the city's gay and lesbian families that lack basic protections and benefits that are taken for granted by our straight counterparts.
And with a high court decision on same-sex marriage pending in Maryland, you don't want D.C.'s gay couples flocking there to win rights not available here. Who would buy all those gleaming new luxury condos if we all moved north?
One more thing. We'd appreciate it if you would use your bully pulpit to denounce homophobic rants delivered by certain African American ministers in town. It seems that some churches can't fill their collection plates without a twice-yearly sermon about how evil and disordered we gay folk are.
Thanks again for your support. Now stop reading the newspaper and get to work. You have a lot to do.
-- Kevin Naff, editor, the Washington Blade