January 09, 2007
A Blade with an edge
Posted by: Chris
A friend forwarded me a short but very sweet piece by Kevin Naff, my successor as editor at the Washington Blade, who wrote an open note in the Washington Post before the New Year to newly-sworn-in D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty not to forget his promises to gay District residents.
Kevin reminded Fenty of two campaign pledges: First, to release a memo written ages ago by former Mayor Anthony Williams' (gay) attorney general, advising whether the District should recognize marriage licenses issued to gay couples in places like Massachusetts and Canada. It's long been rumored that the memo says D.C. should give full recognition to such couples, but Williams reneged on repeated promises to release it. Fenty has said he would.
Second, Fenty came out strongly during the campaign in favor of gay marriage itself in the nation's capital. As I pointed out in a recent blog post, Kevin reminds the mayor that political stars are now aligned for such a move:
The fight for same-sex-marriage rights has been delayed in the District because politicians and activists have feared a backlash from the GOP-controlled Congress. But as Heidi Klum would say, "The Republicans are out!" So that excuse is gone. The City Council has the votes to approve a same-sex-marriage bill. The council should pass it and you should sign it. It's the right thing to do for the city's gay and lesbian families that lack basic protections and benefits that are taken for granted by our straight counterparts.
Here, here! Not to mention the lie it would put to the idea that only "judicial activists" can bring about marriage for gay couples.
Finally, Kevin asks Fenty to use his "bully pulpit to denounce homophobic rants" delivered by bullies in the pulpits of some prominent African-American churches in D.C. For a city with black political leadership that is incredibly supportive of gay rights, there are a surprising number of prominent ministers playing an active role in city politics who deliver jaw-dropping sermons about the sexual practices of gay men and lesbians.
I'm not sure it's necessarily the mayor's role to respond to Sunday sermons, but if they come from any of his own political allies, or those he has appointed to District commissions (as was the case with Fenty's predecessor), then absolutely he should find his voice. Fortunately, there's every indication that Adrian Fenty will do exactly that.
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