Group comes to D.C. to fight gay marriage

A national organization against gay marriage has opened a D.C. office to fight any same-sex marriage proposals that may arise in D.C. this year.

The National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit group credited with playing a key role in the passage of Proposition 8, a California ballot measure to ban gay marriage, is currently operating out of an office at 1100 H St. NW. NOM has been an active voice in same-sex marriage debates nationwide, and the group intends to step up efforts in D.C., including stopping “any attempt to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that may come through the courts or lobbying of Congress,” according to a news release.

The debate over gay marriage in the District flared up last spring, when the D.C. Council voted 12-1 to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Under the legislation, couples retain all rights and privileges of marriage afforded in the state where they were wed. Councilmember David A. Catania (I) stated earlier this year that he plans to introduce a broader gay marriage bill, according to The Washington Post.

“Now gay marriage advocates are pushing Obama for the penultimate prize: repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the only national law that protects marriage. We felt NOM needed to be here in D.C. to make the voice of the majority heard,” Brian Brown, the executive director of NOM, said in a statement.

Despite a new presence in the D.C. gay marriage debate, Michael Komo, president of Allied in Pride, said he is not worried about his organization’s goal of achieving marriage equality in D.C.

“I suppose the National Organization for Marriage is not paying attention to the growing support nationwide for marriage equality,” Komo said. “The organization is fighting a losing battle. Attitudes are changing. People are realizing that this is a matter of equality.”

Brandon Hines, the chairman of College Republicans, said his group is receptive to the organization.

“Clearly, this issue is far from settled and we welcome this added voice to the debate in making sure that all points of view are heard,” Hines said in an e-mail.

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