GLAA to Blade: Winning marriage requires strategy
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GLAA on marriage and families

GLAA to Blade: Winning marriage requires strategy

[Note: an edited version of this letter appeared in
the January 6, 2006 issue of The Washington Blade.]

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
PO Box 75265
Washington, DC 20013
(202) 667-5139

Monday, January 2, 2006

The Washington Blade
1408 U Street, NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20009-3916
Via email to

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, I protest the Blade's false and misleading claim that we have lobbied against gay marriage and civil unions.

In his local year-in-review article (Dec. 30), Ken Sain correctly notes our opposition to the public release of an analysis by D.C. Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti on recognizing same-sex marriages from Massachusetts, but falsely calls this an effort "to keep gay issues in the closet." GLAA wrote the book on gay marriage in the District, and there is nothing closeted about us. We are simply dealing with reality: defying Congress may feel good, but Congress would veto our action and would likely revoke existing protections for gay families.

Contrary to Sain, GLAA has consistently supported equal marriage rights. We have tracked the positions of District officials and candidates on the issue for many years. Our marriage report, published two years ago (see, detailed the state of D.C. law on marriage. Blade reporters routinely rely on our expertise.

GLAA has worked with District officials, the Human Rights Campaign, and other allies to defend gay families from Congressional assault. We also took the lead in organizing against a threatened anti-gay D.C. ballot initiative. In an op-ed a year ago defending gay families, Washington Post columnist Colby King credited me and GLAA with informing him on the subject.

GLAA consulted with community leaders and District officials on our decision to use the Domestic Partners law to add further legal protections for GLBT families. Our focus on domestic partnerships is not an attack on civil unions, but simply a different strategic choice. No one has even proposed civil union legislation here.

Yes, GLAA opposes a statutory D.C. office of GLBT Affairs, which would serve the partisan interests of incumbent mayors and their cronies rather than the GLBT community. No one has bothered to refute our arguments; some simply treat as obvious the desperate need for this ghettoized patronage office.

The Blade's editors, rather than acknowledge that their disagreement with GLAA is over strategy, insist on portraying us as a small group of timid fogeys who are actively opposing gay rights in the District. To the contrary, gay rights would be seriously set back by the suicide mission favored by the Blade. The fight for equal marriage rights is a marathon, not a sprint. As for our size, name a larger group with a more impressive record.


Richard J. Rosendall
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance