Look Who’s in Bed Together on Gay Marriage Fight
Posted on May 17, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
L ying on his cot in the Longworth House Office Building in the small of the night, Jason Chaffetz had a scary dream: The conservative Republican from Utah had beaten the odds, defeated an incumbent and made it to Washington, only to end up by some bizarre twist of events arm-in-arm with Marion Barry, the crack-smoking laughingstock former mayor of the District of Columbia.
“Oh man, if I had run a campaign saying I’d be working closely with Marion Barry, I don’t know that I would have been elected,” Chaffetz says.
The nightmare turns out to be reality: Chaffetz, once the placekicker on the Brigham Young University football team, is now the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee in charge of D.C. affairs, and in that role he is leading the rush against the District’s decision to recognize same-sex marriages. The freshman congressman is utterly confident that his is the moral position on the issue, but he admits to a certain frisson of doubt when he learned that his accidental ally in this fight is the former Mayor for Life, an erstwhile champion of gay rights who has decided that same-sex nuptials are immoral.
Chaffetz has never met Barry, but he’s willing to have lunch with the man — if Barry is willing to meet at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, the only Washington restaurant the congressman frequents. (This may prove to be a stumbling block, as Barry leans more toward fruit juices and health foods these days.)
If the two do break bread, they’ll discover that they share a view that gay couples ought to have the same legal rights as any other Americans, but should not be permitted to marry. They’ll take comfort in the fact that their views are both based on the biblical definition of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. They’re both happy to point to the fact that President Obama is also opposed to gay marriage.
But the lunch is destined not to be a lovefest. It’s not just that Chaffetz and Barry come from wildly disparate backgrounds or represent very different Americas, although it is true that Chaffetz’s district is 88 percent white and only 25 percent of his constituents have a college degree, whereas Washington is 56 percent black and 45 percent of its residents have a bachelor’s or beyond.
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