The May 5th ruling by the D.C. City Council to overwhelmingly recognize same-sex marriages in the district performed elsewhere and the unruly and embarrassing behavior caught on film by black clergy and those opposed to the legislation may have given the false impression that the majority of black politicians shared the same opinion. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Democrats in Ward 8 gathered Saturday at Washington Highlands Library and voted 21 to 11 in favor of a resolution that "affirms its historic support for the civil and human rights of all D.C. citizens by supporting civil marriage equality, according to The Washington Blade.
Marion Barry, a former crack addict, ex-con, and self-appointed "moral leader" who cast the single vote against marriage equality in D.C. and who also serves as Council representative for Ward 8 was conveniently unavailable for the pre-vote panel discussion. Ironically, Barry said he voted against the measure under pressure from his Ward 8 constituents, the very same people who overwhelmingly voted in favor of the measure this past weekend.
Longtime D.C. gay rights activist Phil Panell sat on the three member panel and provided insight on the duality of being black and gay.
"I've been called a nigger by white people and I've been called a faggot by my own and let me tell you, it's all discrimination and it feels the same," Pannell said. In response to remarks that Barry has traditionally been supportive of gay rights, Pannell countered with, "I'm gonna quote Janet Jackson and say, 'What have you done for me lately, Marion Barry?'"