Jordan takes lead on gay-marriage issue

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan has a catchphrase that he likes to use, and it is this: He came to Washington because he wants to protect families.

For Jordan, R-Urbana, that often means lower taxes, less government spending. But the social conservative lawmaker, in his second term, also believes it means opposing legalized abortion and same-sex marriage.

On the latter issue, he’s certainly voted against or co-sponsored measures opposing same sex marriage, but hasn’t gotten out front on the issue during his time in Congress. That changed last Thursday, when Jordan took the lead on a bill that would define marriage in the District of Columbia as the union of a man and a woman.

The bill is a direct reaction to the D.C. City Council, which voted 12-1 on May 5 to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Jordan’s bill attempts to block that vote from becoming law. Congress has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.

“This is real simple. It’s about affirming the ideal,” Jordan said. “Affirming that marriage is what marriage has always been. The ideal — when you think about raising future generations of kids, when you think about parenting, when you think about children — the ideal is a mom and a dad.”

Kim Welter, program manager for Equality Ohio, disagrees. Families, she said, come in all shapes and sizes. In Ohio alone, she said, more than 32,000 same-sex couples are raising children. “Those families are not protected,” she said. “To protect all families, people’s relationships need to be recognized.”

Five states — Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine — have legalized same-sex marriage. Bills are pending in New Hampshire and New York, and the California Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 within the next few weeks.

Opponents of gay marriage who attended a press conference with Jordan to unveil the bill say D.C. has special significance because it is the nation’s capital.

“Some things are worth fighting for and this is one of them,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a co-sponsor.

Others at the press conference, including black pastors from the region, said the rest of the nation looks to what Washington, D.C., does as a model. “What happens in Washington, D.C., will determine the fate of marriage in our nation,” said Bishop Harry Jackson.

Welter, meanwhile, said it’s significant whenever same-sex marriages become legal or accepted.

“This really is about people being willing to take care of their families,” she said. “Whether it’s in D.C. or any of the other states.”

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