Last Thursday, May 21, a piece of historic legislation was introduced by a courageous bi-partisan group of lawmakers. Thirty-five members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored a bill that would define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The lead sponsors of the D.C. Defense of Marriage Act are Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Dan Boren (D-Oklahoma). In an era devoid of genuine bi-partisan cooperation, it is heartening to see people stand up for what is right -simply because it’s right.
The bill was created to block a DC City Council measure, approved in early May, which seeks to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The DC Defense of Marriage Act was a bold move because DC residents have been fighting for home rule for years. Despite their struggles, Congress has still maintained the procedural right to weigh in on any new law in the District of Columbia. The Congressional co-sponsors of the bill recognized that the DC City Council had not asked for input from the people of the District before they voted 12 to 1 to recognize gay marriages as the first step approving full-blown homosexual marriage. Anyone paying attention to the nation political scene knows that same-sex marriage is still a very controversial issue. Contrary to the City Council’s assertion of the popularity for their campaign for same-sex marriage, it’s hard to believe that their 92% vote for same-sex marriage would represent the wishes of any metropolitan jurisdiction in the nation.
Before I share further details about this bill and how you can get involved with the struggle, let me give you a little more of the back story. The D.C. City Council has arrogantly ignored the fact that 100 pastors signed and delivered a letter urging D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and the Council not to sign the bill. Further, the letter was reprinted as a full-page ad in a Capitol Hill newspaper read by all political insiders. In addition, Christian ministers and lay persons of many different denominations have attended two Stand for Marriage DC rallies in the last three weeks. There is a growing sense of political outrage among DC residents.
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.