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Should We Be Begging Congress to Vote on D.C.’s Marriage Bill Just to Know Where Lawmakers Stand?

In the recent fights for marriage equality in New York and New Jersey, activists, this website, and even governors called on state lawmakers to vote on gay marriage bills, even if they seemed destined for defeat, so voters and pundits would know where elected officials stood on endorsing discrimination. And whom to target when it came time for elections. But with Utah Republican Sen. Bob Bennett (right) introducing legislation in the Senate, following fellow Utah GOPer Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (below) effort in the House, both houses of Congress now have bills before that could nix Washington D.C.’s gay marriage law and put it up to the city’s voters. Should we be encouraging the House and Senate to vote on the bills — just so we know where they stood?

The obvious answer is No, don’t have House and Senate leaders bring the bills to a floor vote, because it could upend what’s seen as the inevitable legalization of gay marriage in the nation’s capital; following the City Council’s vote of approval, Congress is in the middle of a review period. If it doesn’t act, the bill will become law next month.

jasonchaffetz

But we also have the chance to force federal lawmakers to go on the record as to whether they support gay marriage — or side with Yes On 8/Protect Marriage, and think voters should get to decide on your rights. It’s the earliest opportunity to make officials declare their stance on gay marriage by voting on it. And with just months before the mid-term elections, such a vote could serve as useful information about which Republicans (and Democrats) really need to find new careers. Particularly as we activists continue fighting to have the Defense of Marriage Act repealed (or is everyone just waiting for Perry?).

Of course, there’s a major risk in letting Congress vote on D.C.’s marriage. Namely, that it could go wrong, and the upside (knowing where lawmakers stand) isn’t worth the risk of the downside (forcing D.C.’s gay residents to have voters decide their marriage rights).

By:           editor editor
On:           Feb 3, 2010
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

  • 17 Comments
    • Sam
      Sam

      No. No we shouldn’t.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RS
      RS

      I think the risk is too high. This bill should be defeated as quickly as possible, whether that means bottling it up procedurally so it never comes to a vote, voting it down in committee, amending it into oblivion, or whatever. If it actually reaches the House floor and is taken up for a vote, that would be very, very bad.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pete
      Pete

      Those of us who live in the District of Columbia would appreciate Congress keeping its nose out of our local affairs. It is inexcusable that here in Washington, we are in fact America’s last colony. We pay taxes, we serve in the armed forces, but we are denied a vote in Congress. Shame .

      Feb 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stenar
      Stenar

      Rep. Jason Chaffetz looks like Mr. Bean in that photo.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Timothy Kincaid
      Timothy Kincaid

      I think you misunderstand the concept.

      You demand a vote on FAVORABLE bills in the hopes that it will pass and, if not, to know who opposes your equality.

      You do not demand a vote on a bill that is opposed to equality; it might pass.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      I don’t want them to vote on this, HOWEVER, I want congress and the senate to make clear exactly which gay rights they stand for. They are politicians and they should list their opinions. I want to know EXACTLY where the bigoted Dem’s are so I can donate money to any primary opponent they have, or to their opposition. Just like in New York, right after the vote several people taht voted no on marriage were targeted and one has already announced he won’t run again. The same thing happened in MA. after a bill was introduced to kill marriage, people that voted for it lost their seats the next go around.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bystander
      bystander

      Force a vote on the repeal of DOMA, that will get the politicians on the record without the risk

      Feb 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Cowards. Democrats need to bleed for years over this betrayal.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PADude
      PADude

      Most definitely not, but for the simple reason that granted rights should never come to a vote by the public or by lawmakers (who are public as well). Nor should the ultimate set of carpetbaggers be permitted to intervene in DC’s city affairs. DC has little enough autonomy as it is.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      We already know where most of them stand.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      Don’t be ridiculous. We don’t want congress to vote on this at all. If they vote on it, it has a chance of passage, and we don’t want it to pass. Let them bury it for 30 days, and then forget about it.

      The only reason some Republican Senators are trying to make a big deal out of this, is to score points with the bigots.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dan j
      dan j

      Many good reasons and arguements for not voting on it. You should know or at least have a good idea where those you vote for stand on this issue anyway. If not, write and ask, and let them know where you stand (repeatedly).

      But whatever you do, don’t allow an anti-gay rights proponent get elected, even if it means voting for a luke warm gay supporter. Our enemies outnumber us, are better organized, and funded.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael in San Jose
      Michael in San Jose

      I personally think we should have the vote in both houses. We MUST know who supports us or who pretends to support us. People’s lives and their livelihood depend on this information not to mention the millions of dollars that are spent on political activity supporting candidates with no honor or integrity. Regarding the risk, remember your 5th grade American history class. The President can veto the bill before it becomes law. The question is then: Will Obama stand with us when it matters and veto such a bill? & Will the democratic leadership be able to prevent a 2/3 majority veto override voter in both chambers? Not sure about Obama, I’m pretty sure his veto would not get overridden on this issue. But after the Stupak amendment who the hell knows…

      Feb 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      @No. 5 Timothy Kincaid

      Timothy is absolutely correct. It is a huge difference to proffer a marriage-equity bill and let the cards fall where there may. Yes the votes were lost in New York and new Jersey, but those failures did not change the laws in effect in those two states. And, as you reported, we know who to go after during upcoming elections (alas NOM knows who too).

      In the DC matter, there is now passed and signed legislation providing marriage-equality in the District. The bills proffered by the Utah duo-of-bigots, are aimed at changing existing law and over-turning marriage-equality. Allowing such discriminatory legislation to be considered by either house is an affront to civil rights, and Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid have the individual authority of office to not allow any such consideration. This is the proper legislative maneuver. Painting this situation as Promise v. Fear insults the many who are fighting for marriage-equality. Queerty, you are doing a disservice creating a controversy out of nothingness; but now the bigots will accuse us of being fraidy-cats.

      When Congress takes up the repeal of DOMA, there will be plenty of opportunity for marriage-equality advocates to learn who are enemies are. That is the proper time and place for such action.

      Lastly, Queerty, you are in error about what happens in cases of Congressional review of DC legislation. No action by Congress means that the law becomes effective when the 30 day review period expires. Should Congress review the legislation, Congress’ authority is to “veto” the legislation; Congress does not have the authority to draft an initiative for the residents of DC to vote on marriage-equality.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 7:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      @No. 5 Timothy Kincaid

      Timothy is absolutely correct. It is a huge difference to proffer a marriage-equity bill and let the cards fall where there may. Yes the votes were lost in New York and New Jersey, but those failures did not change the laws in effect in those two states. And, as you reported, we know who to go after during upcoming elections (alas NOM knows who too).

      In the DC matter, there is now passed and signed legislation providing marriage-equality in the District. The bills proffered by the Utah duo-of-bigots, are aimed at changing existing law and over-turning marriage-equality. Allowing such discriminatory legislation to be considered by either house is an affront to civil rights, and Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid have the individual authority of office to not allow any such consideration. This is the proper legislative maneuver. Painting this situation as Promise v. Fear insults the many who are fighting for marriage-equality. Queerty, you are doing a disservice creating a controversy out of nothingness; now the bigots will accuse us of being fraidy-cats.

      When Congress takes up the repeal of DOMA, there will be plenty of opportunity for marriage-equality advocates to learn who are enemies are. That is the proper time and place for such action.

      Lastly, Queerty, you are in error about what happens in cases of Congressional review of DC legislation. No action by Congress means that the law becomes effective when the 30 day review period expires. Should Congress review the legislation, Congress’ authority is to “veto” the legislation; Congress does not have the authority to draft an initiative for the residents of DC to vote on marriage-equality.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drake
      Drake

      We here in D.C. do not want congress to vote. No gay or lesbian organization supports a vote. The law will automatically go into effect without a vote. To Mike in San Diego , #12, it is exactly this colonial attitude of the rest of America that we abhor here in the nation’s capital. Please, all keep their hands off our local issues. You guys in California already had the opportunity to mess up on Proposition 8. Don’t make our rights in DC a “re-do”.

      Feb 3, 2010 at 7:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ionos
      Ionos

      @Timothy Kincaid: Timothy is correct.

      Feb 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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