Nearly three weeks ago, Washington, D.C.'s former mayor, Marion Barry, spoke at the first citywide rally that said no to same-sex marriage reciprocity in D.C. It was at this rally on April 28 that the former mayor declared for the first time that he was against same-sex marriage. The next week, true to his word, Barry voted against the D.C. measure, which is still in a 30-day review by Congress prior to becoming law.
Last Friday, gay activists began a series of local Democratic ward meetings seeking to pave the way for gay marriage. These last minute meetings, often held at inconvenient times for residents, are designed to feign grassroots support. Not surprisingly, the gay activist group, which organized the 12-to-1 council vote for same-sex marriage reciprocity, started its efforts with Barry's ward in southeast D.C. They hoped to embarrass him and cast him in the role of an out-of-touch, over-the-hill politician.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Marion Barry is perhaps the quintessential grassroots politician. He is someone who was so in touch with the pulse of his community that he could emerge from a prison cell and get re-elected in his beloved city. If anyone has proven his heart and his connection with the least, the last and the lost of D.C., Marion Barry has. Therefore his public statements that the voice of the people has not been heard undoubtedly have some merit. In fact the only way to refute Barry's claim is to bring the matter to the people for a public vote. There is no other way to know the will of the people than to submit such things to popular vote.
Everyone knows that straw vote campaigns are a part of political "sleight of hand." The side that needs the most credibility buses in many voters from other parts of the city to attempt to drum up support for their side. It's amazing the Academy Award winning performances that people will put on when buses, stipends and professional organizers are paid for. In D.C.'s case the same group that has given campaign donations to swing-vote council members are behind these new efforts. As you might expect, they have also promised to retaliate against Barry and others. They have even gone so far as to call Barry, the civil rights warhorse, a bigot.
Let me express some concerns I have. What happens in D.C. will affect the nation. In traditional wars that are fought in armed conflict, there is always an attempt to seize the capital of the nation. The capital is a nerve center and defeating it always renders numerous aspects of the nation's potential resistance impossible. In addition, the loss of the capital disheartens everyone except the most experienced warriors. Taking a nation's capital in physical war in most cases means the defeat of the nation.
Applying this principle of war to our struggle to preserve the potential and power of biblical marriage, we have to protect marriage in the nation's capital. We must wage a nonphysical, nonviolent, political war to protect the definition and potential of marriage on behalf of future generations. Our great-grandchildren deserve to grow up with both a mom and a dad. If marriage is redefined, then the concept of family must be redefined. Once family is redefined, parenting and child rearing must also be redefined. If we change the parental landscape, education must also be transformed. All of this will be done on the bogus claim of civil rights.
This means that we must both stop the destruction of the institution and provide personal and community interventions, to save marriage as it is currently defined. I am not ready to have my grandchildren read Heather Has Two Mommies at age 8. I do not want them to learn about the prince and the prince who grow up to be the king and the king. Perhaps more importantly, I rue the day that children could be prematurely wooed into making lasting declarations about their personal sexuality.
So how do we defeat this attack on our nation's capital?
First of all, we need to support the efforts of Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who was just demonized in Sunday's Washington Post because he has expressed interest in Congress overriding the D.C. same-sex recognition bill. The Washington writers downplayed the fact that he is on the House sub-committee responsible for D.C. city affairs. Chaffetz, a freshman representative, is bright and energetic. He has come to Washington to make a real difference. As a result of his sincerity, the former Brigham Young place-kicker, a Utah Republican, is working with hundreds of black community leaders to make a difference in the nation's capital. Sneering gay activists and yellow paper journalists are afraid of a national battle for marriage being waged in the streets. They demonize Chaffetz because he may become part of a new model for marriage protection - blacks, whites and Hispanics working together. This new model also unifies people from different faith traditions declaring a strong message, "Not on my watch!"
Second we need to begin a nationally funded and supported campaign aimed at blocking gay marriage in the District. After all, D.C. is every American's "hometown." Here's how such a movement can begin. This Wednesday and Thursday over 400 pastors will gather in D.C. to be briefed about major issues of our day, lobby Congress and carry out spiritual prayer walks in the capital city. Representatives from this group will host a press conference at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Ministers from around the country and from Washington, D.C. will unite to make their voices heard. Would you reach out to your Congressmen and ask them to, "Say no to same-sex marriage"? Go to our Web site, thetruthinblackandwhite.com to find out ways you can help.
Harry R. Jackson Jr. is senior pastor of 3,000-member Hope Christian Church in the nation's capital. Jackson, who earned an MBA from Harvard, is a best-selling author and popular conference speaker. He leads the High-Impact Leadership Coalition.