On July 15th, the DC Court of Appeals ruled that the citizens of the District of Columbia will not be allowed to vote on the definition of marriage. Fortunately for the people of DC, an appeal to the Supreme Court is still possible. Nonetheless, the idea of mounting such a battle is daunting. An inordinate investment of time and energy, not to mention financial resources, will be required of those who take up the gauntlet and challenge DC’s highest court’s decision.
In fact, it would be easy for the faint of heart to throw in the towel. In places like California, those funding pro-marriage have been targeted with boycotts of their businesses, public releases of their home addresses, and threats upon their physical persons. Also in California, churches supporting traditional marriage have been vandalized and called out as “discriminators.” Despite these kinds of tactics, California Proposition 8 supporters and those supporting marriage in DC have remained constant and strong in the face of opposition.
Also, a very sophisticated propaganda or misinformation campaign is afoot with at least two unique prongs for DC. First of all, our opponents declare that their victory is inevitable. Polls, trends, and national statistics are referred to in an exaggerated, intellectually dishonest manner. Like all bullies or terrorists, their subliminal message is simple, “It’s useless to resist us. You should give up now!” They conveniently forget their losing record of 31 to 0 in jurisdictions who have won the right to vote on this issue.
Second, same-sex marriage proponents around the country taut DC as the first predominantly black community that has bowed its knee to same-sex marriage. They exaggerate the numbers and influence of those DC clergy and secular black leadership who accept gay marriage, hoping to bolster their inevitability claims. Even DC Council members rarely reference the deep racial, cultural, and class divide the specter of same-sex marriage has cast over our community.
Many DC residents writhe in outrage when they hear that this desperate abuse of power (denying the citizens of the city to vote) is being hailed as a shining victory for civil rights. We conclude that if DC political strong-arm tactics are allowed to go unchallenged, there will be national consequences to pay. The outlook of the congressmen, senators, and policy experts that live in this region may become more susceptible to the propaganda of “inevitability” and other distortions of truth.
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.