Others have written about apathy on the part of the DC electorate on this issue. The Washington Post has gone out of its way to suggest that the faith community is equally divided over the issue of marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even in DC, clergy who support same-sex marriage are far from the mainstream. How could it be otherwise? Most faith traditions around the world do not celebrate same-sex marriage. The Manhattan Declaration, which I have written about in previous pieces, unites Christians from most denominations to stand for pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-religious liberties.
The House of Representatives, if it chooses to, can veto DC laws. For this reason, openly gay city council members are “briefing” friendly Congressmen on the Hill today. At the same time, pro-traditional marriage advocates will address scores of representatives. Could this be the beginning of the federal battle over DOMA - the Defense of Marriage Act? In addition, Stand For Marriage leaders are stopped everywhere they go in the city by people who repeatedly declare, “We are behind you!”
As the political pot in Washington slowly rises to a boil, there certainly have been other significant developments in the marriage battle around the nation. On Wednesday, for example, opponents of gay marriage won a decisive victory in the New York State Senate; a measure attempting to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated 38 to 24. The liberal state legislature once considered gay marriage passage inevitable - with the same level of certainty that DC Council members currently display. In fact, David A. Paterson was poised to sign it into law.
Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, believes that New York State represents a game changer in the marriage wars. “I think you put it all together and it most likely spells the end of the idea that you can pass gay marriage democratically anywhere else in the United States,” she told reporters. This implies that gay marriage advocates will have to rely on activist judges and the legal system to advance their agenda.
Last week, I was interviewed by US News and World Report and asked an interesting question: “What lessons can Christian conservatives take from the loss they received at the hands of the DC Council?” I said that we needed to complement our grassroots organizational success with an increase in political sophistication. This means we need to start earlier in order to apply the same kind of pressure that gays have done for over five years. Although the opposition’s efforts made an impact on the mayor’s office and the DC Council, it has not changed the opinion of the mass voters in the District. Our efforts will be seen in the upcoming elections when we watch the current council members lose due to their disregard for the people whom they serve. In fact, we will strive to find our own candidates for these positions.
Become an advocate for marriage. Email your congressmen and senators and let them know how you want them to vote. Go to www.stand4marriagedc.com and learn more about how you can help. Today, you can make a difference!
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.