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.
In this emotionally charged, ideological battle, opinionated reporters often skip over our legitimate concerns to ask our team one question, “Why are you so committed to this complex legal and political battle, when there are so many other more pressing problems?” Even bloggers at my undergraduate school, Williams College, have written time and time again that they think I am squandering vital resources on a lost cause or at best, a Pyhrric victory.
I would like to write my answer here, since it never gets into print in the mainstream media. There are two reasons why I fight for the right of the citizens of DC to vote on marriage. My first reason is intensely personal. In the early ’50’s my father, a World War II veteran, got involved in the struggle for national voter rights. Blacks were being systematically excluded from the prize right of our constitution - the right to vote.
In 1954, he was threatened at gunpoint by a state trooper in a blood-drenched southern state, who shot a live round just over my father’s head as a threat. He was told that if he did not stop rabble rousing, the next time the trooper would not miss. I was told this story over and over again as the reason my family migrated north to Cincinnati, Ohio and later Washington. Once in Ohio, my father made a pledge that he would remain actively engaged in grassroots politics. Dad was one of tens of thousands of blacks abused, threatened, or treated worse under “the terrorism” of the Jim Crow days.
In many ways, I feel that I am reliving family history. The idea that heavy-handed politicians can still steal the people’s right to vote amazes me. Like my father, I say, “Not on my watch!”
The second reason I fight is because of the impact this law will have on the way education and child rearing will be conducted. If this law were exported from DC to the nation, you could teach your kids at home that there are important spiritual and societal reasons to believe in traditional marriage. Unfortunately, your kids would be told by educators that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and that those of opposing views are bigots. The Helena Montana battle over school curriculum is exposing a national same-sex marriage, brain washing agenda.
While same-sex marriage advocates purport that it can peacefully coexist alongside traditional marriage without impact, same-sex marriage laws will create conflict between people who fervently believe in traditional marriage and the law. After all, there can be no “conscientious objectors” to the law.
If pro-traditional marriage proponents remain strong over the next 30 months, I believe same-sex marriage victories will be reversed in the current Supreme Court. This fight resembles the last two minutes of a championship basketball game, and like the most recent battle in Los Angeles, the most experienced and persistent team will win.
Don’t give up! Let’s keep advocating for traditional marriage until the buzzer blows.