Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Catania purposely used the phrase “marriage equality” instead of same-sex marriage. It seems that this phrase must play better with focus groups and people who are contemplating the merits of gay marriage. Nowhere in the discussion of the council members on Tuesday was any mention made of the fact that same-sex marriage changes the definition of family, parenting, and education in our city in one fell swoop. Future concepts of family, marriage, and sex will be communicated differently because of such legislation. Neither was it mentioned that books like the Prince and the Prince, Heather has Two Mommies, or similar works will eventually be required reading for 8 year olds in the District. Imagine what sex education classes will have include in order prepare teenagers for “responsible entry” into the adult world.

Nothing was said about the devaluation of marriage that has happened in every nation where same-sex unions have received comparable status to heterosexual marriage. According to the work of Harvard trained Dr. Stanley Kurtz and others, rapid destabilization of the entire institution of marriage has been an unintended consequence of recognizing same-sex marriages.

Instead this type of meaningful conversation, Councilman Catania resorted to name calling when he declared that Marion Barry was a “bigot.” To Barry’s credit, the civil rights warhorse repudiated and rejected the “bigot” label. Councilman Catania quickly apologized. Instead, he implied that bigotry is the only reason that explains why thinking Americans oppose same-sex marriage. On the heels of this encounter, another council member began to describe my community pastors as “mean-spirited” and “intimidated.”

The next steps in Washington, DC are simple - we must raise awareness in Congress that they can veto this bill. Further, Christians must begin to alert both Democratic and Republican congressmen about the need to vote against such measures. An immediate response from our supporters is very necessary.

Consider the following steps of action:

1. I am calling for a lobbying day in just 10 days in Washington, DC (May 20-22). We will bring over 300 ministers to DC for three days of inspiration, information, and impartation. This group will take time to lobby on the Hill and conduct prayer vigils in the city.

2. I am asking that every pastor and ministry leader notify their US Senators and Representatives that we are expecting them to veto this bill.

3. Finally, I am every American who understands the importance of protecting traditional marriage to pray every day for the legislators to realize the negative impact same-sex marriage legislation will have on our society.

The time to act is now. Let’s not be caught sleeping on our watch!

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.