I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of recent marriage equality progress in our nation’s capital, considering my previous focus on same-sex marriage efforts… This past week, the Washington, D.C. city council passed a measure legalizing same-sex marriage for the second time, confirming their vote on December 1st. And on Friday, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the bill, pushing the district nearly to the finish line of marriage equality.
There’s a catch, though. Isn’t there always?
Measures passed in the District of Columbia are actually up for review by Congress for thirty days. In that time, Congress could conceivably decide to overrule the bill and prevent same-sex marriage from being legal. With a Democratic majority in Congress it’s unlikely that this will happen, but we’ve had surprising defeats before.
More likely, there’s a possibility that there could be legal challenges in the not-too-distant future that could interfere. The National Organization for Marriage, a group committed to preserving their vision of the sanctity of marriage (meaning “no gays allowed” in their view) has committed to getting the question of same-sex marriage in D.C. on ballots for voters to decide.
“Politicians on the city council are acting as if they have the right through legislation to deprive citizens of D.C. of their core civil right to vote, but we will not let them get away with it,” said the group’s executive director, Brian Brown.
On this point I’m conflicted… We ARE in a democracy, and the will of the people should in theory prevail. But of course, I’m all-too-aware that every state in the United States that has held a popular vote on same-sex marriage has voted against it. There’s always the possibility that if voters in Washington, D.C. were able to vote on the issue, rather than voting in politicians who themselves passed the measure, we might lose. That’s democracy, right?
But then I think, what if the question of interracial marriages, or interreligious marriages, or civil marriages outside of the Christian church, was put to a popular vote? In many parts of this country, the majority might very well decide that they didn’t want those things happening in their city, county, or state either. Do we really want to allow the votes of the many to restrict the civil rights of the minority?
So here’s my challenge: Post below with your opinion. And give me more than “I’m gay and I think gays should be allowed to marry” or “my church says it’s wrong, so no, they shouldn’t be allowed to get married.” Put some thought into it and give us a reasoned debate.