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NEW REPORT: The True Story Behind the Fight for Marriage Equality in D.C.

Marriage equality opponents distort the facts about same-sex couples in D.C. and ignore equality supporters from the faith community

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Contact: Madeline Meth
Phone: 202.741.6277
Email: mmeth@americanprogress.org

Listen to the call 

Read the report (pdf)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today the Center for American Progress held a press call to release its new report, Time to Stop the Lies: Countering Bishop Harry Jackson’s Gay Marriage Distortions. The call featured the author of the report, Jeff Krehely, Director of CAP’s LGBT Research and Communications Project, as well as CAP Senior Fellow Sam Fulwood, and the Reverend Dr. Dennis W. Wiley, who has served for 22 years as pastor of the Covenant Baptist Church in D.C. Here is what our experts and Rev. Wiley said:

Jeff Krehely, Director of LGBT Research and Communications Project, Center for American Progress

“Watching the same-sex marriage debate over the course of the past several months, it’s been a big concern for me that Bishop Jackson and the opposition in general has not been willing to engage in a fact-based debate about same-sex couples. If this is as important as a policy issue as the opposition is making it out to be, it deserves an honest and healthy debate.”

“At least a third of same-sex couples in the District of Columbia are people of color, and African-Americans make up more than a quarter of these couples. This whole idea that it’s just a white privilege base is just not true.”

“Offering marriage rights to same-sex couples will be really good for the District’s overall economy. It’s been estimated that doing so will generate about $52 million dollars for the District overall in the next three years…”

Sam Fulwood, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

“I…think that those that are most vociferous in [working against marriage equality] are on the wrong side of history, and on the wrong side of civil rights.”

“To be able to make arguments that somehow it’s a zero-sum proposition, that somehow in granting marriage equality rights, poor black people will suffer…I don’t understand how that argument holds water. That just does not make sense.”

Rev. Dennis Wiley, Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church

“The black church and the black community…have been characterized by some as being united in opposition against same-sex marriage, and this could not be further from the truth. Black people are not monolithic, we are diverse just like all other human beings.”

“Same-sex marriage is not a white issue—from experience, it is also a black issue. Countless same-sex couples have expressed a deep appreciation in our church, and even those outside of our church have expressed this same appreciation of our policy of acceptance. Some have even testified, those who have become a member of our fellowship, that our inclusive ministry has literally saved their lives due to the emotional and traumatic experiences they have encountered elsewhere, where they have been rejected.”

“While I have seen no evidence that same-sex marriage threatens the institution of marriage, I have seen considerable evidence that it may indeed strengthen the family. In fact, several of the more stable families in my congregation, with some of the most well-grounded, well-adjusted, and well-behaved children that I have ever seen in my 30 years of ministry, are families headed by same-sex parents.”

“I believe that this bill that has been introduced by the D.C. City Council is one that will hopefully, one day, demonstrate to the world that the nation’s capitol is truly a world-class model of freedom, justice, and equality for all.”

“I firmly believe that if we are genuinely concerned about protecting the family and preserving the institution of marriage, rather than insist that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid, we should insist instead that only marriage between two loving and committed adults is valid.”

Listen to the call

Read the report (pdf)

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund, women's issues)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention, the National Security Agency)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (energy and environment, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org