D.C. Passes Same-Sex Marriage — Despite Do-Over by Marion Barry

225px-marionbarry001The D.C. Council passed a same-sex marriage law unanimously this week — sort of. Ex-felon and current Councilman Marion Barry voted for the legislation only to immediately object that he did not want to vote for same-sex marriage and insisted on a new vote. It passed 12-1.

It will now go to Congress where members are seeking to overturn the result. However, that would require a vote of both houses. It could put both the Democrats and President Obama in a tough political position. President Clinton and the Democrats overwhelmingly supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Barry called his vote a “agonizing and difficult decision” — all the more agonizing and difficult when you have to make it twice.

For the full story, click here.

13 thoughts on “D.C. Passes Same-Sex Marriage — Despite Do-Over by Marion Barry”

  1. To add, as i don’t think my previous post showed the context:

    Coates said this beforehand:

    1.) This is serious business for gay people. I think it’s a mistake to totally disregard Barry and to disregard Ward 8. I suspect that if you did, indeed, poll Ward 8 you’d find a lot of opposition to gay marriage.

    2.) I have some deadlines looming over me, and if I didn’t, I’d expend a little shoe-leather myself and try to get a picture of what’s actually happening in my old home. I feel like the Post’s coverage has been pretty one-dimensional and wanting. Maybe that’s a sign of the times.

    3.) I think having said all that, that is another case of the worst of us repping for all of us. Barry represents one Ward, in a majority black city. It is true that it’s a heavily black Ward–but Southeast, and by extension Marion Barry, can’t speak for all of D.C., any more than Harlem can speak for Jamaica, Queens. Eleanor Holmes Norton is just a black as Marion Barry.

    I’ve argued strongly against white gay people expecting automatic sympathy from blacks, on the basis of shared victimhood. There was no shared sympathy extended to blacks from the Irish, or the Italians. There likely will be none in the future from Mexican-Americans.

    That said, as a black person, it is painful and infuriating to watch this unfold. There is something utterly unreflective about people who can only use their pain to advance their own narrowly-defined interests, who can’t use it to see the humanity of others. I think people who argue that gay marriage is going to “destroying our youth” are a fucking joke, and I will treat them as such.

    Nothing threatens “our youth” more than credentialed ignorance–especially when the credentials are claimed from up high. Somewhere on the internet there is a place where reasonable people are interested in high tea with bigots, and converting those who are on the fence. I don’t want any part of it. Compassion is a resource too. My stores are limited. There will be no quarter here.

  2. Focusing on Barry’s opposition to recognizing gay marriage causes us to miss the forest for the trees; in a majority black city with a majority black political leadership, the City Council voted overwhelmingly (12 to 1) IN SUPPORT of recognizing gay marriage (albeit ones performed outside of DC). This represents a great political victory for the gay rights movements, and refutes the meme which claims that the African-American community is monolithically, implacably, and irresolutely opposed to recognizing gay civil marriage.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic writes:

    There are 12 members of the City Council. Seven of them are black. One is Marion Barry. To anyone who’s followed Barry’s career, I’m not sure why “Marion Barry Is A Demagogue” is breaking news. It’s really wrong to erase the other six votes on that measure, and make Barry the face of blacks on the Council, and blacks in the City.

    Here’s something else–consider the fact that D.C. is in the South. Not the deep South, but the South all the same. It’s bordered by two slave states, and one Confederate state. I can’t think of any other southern jurisdiction that’s gone this far on gay marriage. To the contrary, most Southern states have set about the business of a constitutional ban.

    That leaves with a very uncomfortable fact–the most progressive place for gays in the South, is also the blackest. I wouldn’t draw too much causality from that statement. Much like I wouldn’t draw too much causality from black and Prop 8. But that didn’t stop anyone then, did it? Why should it stop them now?

  3. AY,

    To quote my grandfather, “Anything worth doing is worth over doing.” To that end, be on the look out for a shipment of 100 Flying Monkeys that have been fed a healthy diet of bananas, Spam and Metamucil. They are trained to fly to a target of your designation. Just use a laser pointer or a loud speaker bellowing out Rush Limpbaugh. They are accurate within 10 meters (Oz is on the metric system). Use with care and stand well away. They have been known to prematurely fling poo . . . for pure fun it would seem. A bad habit they picked up from Rove. Enjoy!

  4. It might be politically easier for Obama to throw ’em a bone and make DC the 51st star.

  5. QoS,

    You may be right. And when he was informed of his vote he probably was I did what?


    Would ya catch a monkey for me and sent it to Texas. I want to see if it will navigate to GWBs house and help him out. Maybe a bucket of water will do him in too.

  6. Methinks Marion is hitting the crack pipe again. He seems to become “confused” very easily.

  7. I am back in KS and the Flying Monkeys are as bad as ever. Thanks for asking.

  8. Buddha,

    That was good. But do you practice “safe Clausen” so that you can have your pickle and eat it too.

  9. “A lot has been said about politics; some of it complimentary, but most of it accurate.” – Eric Idle

  10. Full Faith & Credit Clausen?

    (In the refrigerator aisle!)

    It may not have a lot of marketing zing, but I like it.

  11. I think that the city of DC has presented a pickle for the government.

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