Chaffetz fighting D.C. gay marriage

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to overturn a new District of Columbia ordinance allowing gay marriage, but he predicts Democratic leaders will not allow it to come to a vote.

"I think they are afraid they will lose," he told the Deseret News.

"I wish it would come up for a vote, because I think traditional marriage would win. But with the Democrats controlling the House, the Senate and the presidency, I can't imagine that this would make it through the process." So, he said, the bill is "more symbolic than it is realistic."

The district council last month passed, and its mayor signed, an ordinance to allow gay marriage. But because the nation's capital is a federal district and not a state, all district ordinances must go through a waiting period of 30 days in session by Congress, during which Congress may vote to reject that ordinance.

Chaffetz said he introduced his resolution of disapproval because he is the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that oversees district operations, and "because I think it's the right thing to do."

He said that resolution is only one of several prongs of attack against gay marriage in the district, including a possible lawsuit against the ordinance and another bill he already introduced — which is backed by many clergy in the district — that would allow a referendum permitting district residents to vote directly on allowing gay marriage.

"I'm convinced that traditional marriage wins when it's up for a vote," Chaffetz said. "Thirty-one times in a row when it has come up for a vote in the states, traditional marriage has always won."

He said he is working on obtaining a hearing on his referendum bill, but, "They're not going to call up anything that's going to allow this to be heard. I think they're very clear about that, because they're afraid of a vote. They're afraid of the public."

This story was reported from Salt Lake City.

e-mail: lee@desnews.com

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