Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Utah Third District Congressman Jason Chaffetz Seeks To Stop The Official Recognition Of Out-Of-State Gay Marriage In Washington, D.C.
Utah Third District Congressman Jason Chaffetz is leading the charge in Congress to overturn the District of Columbia's move to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Chaffetz, who is the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the district, has huddled with House minority leaders to discuss options on how to stop the process. The subcommittee is officially known as the Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Subcommittee; its membership roster is available HERE.
"I'm in a favor of recognizing marriage as a union between a man and a woman," Chaffetz said. "I'm not in favor of trying to redefine it, or disguise it under another name."
The Washington D.C. City Council voted 12-1 to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Ironically, the lone opposition vote was cast by former crack Mayor Marion Barry. But unlike any other American city, Washington D.C. has no ultimate control over its own laws and budgets, and Congress can cancel the City Council vote within the next 30 days. The district, home to nearly 600,000 residents, has no voting member of Congress, although its Democratic non-voting Delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, expressed support for the measure.
So why is Rep. Chaffetz taking an interest in D.C.'s internal affairs? Because the District of Columbia receives federal funding as the nation's capital. "People in Salt Lake City are paying for the operation and government in the District of Columbia," Chaffetz says. He also believes that Congress should vote on the issue. But a strong Democratic majority in Congress may thwart Chaffetz' efforts.
And how does D.C. feel about Rep. Chaffetz' efforts? The City Council is hoping Congress will let residents decide their own fate under a principle called home rule. "The Council hopes Representative Chaffetz and other members of Congress will respect home rule and allow the local representatives of the District of Columbia the right to legislate on this issue, as with others, in the best interest of the citizens who have elected them to do so, and not intervene," Chairman Vincent C. Gray said in a statement. Democratic Mayor Adrian M. Fenty plans to sign the bill into law.
What the Salt Lake Tribune leaves out is that there is considerable local opposition to the City Council's move, most of it from within the Black community. Over 100 Black ministers, to include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, have expressed public opposition, and Marion Barry, who represents Ward 8, says the black community is just adamant against it. An estimated 98 percent of his constituents are black and at least 70 percent of them are opposed to gay marriage. A detailed Washington Post story can be read HERE. Blacks opposed gay marriage in California at a higher rate than other races as well.
Recognition of out-of-state gay marriages is widely recognized as a Trojan horse for actual gay marriage in D.C. itself. We now have five states officially recognizing gay marriage; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and Maine.
Contact Jason Chaffetz HERE to express your support for his efforts. For those in other areas, review the list of Subcommittee members and contact them directly as needed.