Is there an orange stripe in the rainbow flag?
When he was running for D.C. mayor four years ago, Vincent Orange, then the Ward 5 Council representative, said, “If you believe in God, the Bible says, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ I’m saying same-sex marriage is not condoned by the Bible.”
The assertion that believing in God and believing in the Christian Bible are synonymous might come as a surprise to the roughly 8 percent of D.C. residents who are Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish -- and Orange’s citation of Genesis 1:28 could also justify prohibiting marriage among the impotent, the infertile, and the elderly.
But that’s somewhat beside the point. Orange is making a comeback bid this year, running for the open D.C. Council Chair seat, the second-highest elected post in a city that now permits same-sex marriage. So, what does Orange say now?
In a statement released by his campaign earlier this year, Orange said, “In 2006, I did say that I believed that marriage is between a man and a woman.” He rightly points out that he has since supported same-sex marriage legislation in his role as D.C. Democratic National Committeeman. He points to a long record of working for gay rights both on and off the Council.
“We have come a long way in the journey of life,” Orange said in the statement. “Today, I stand on the right side of history.”
So what was behind that remark four years ago? Did Orange have a change of heart? I asked his campaign to clarify. Campaign manager Sean Metcalf said, “As you know, Vincent Orange has addressed the issue of marriage equality on many occasions throughout the campaign. Therefore, he will not be addressing the issue again.”
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington D.C. seems satisfied. On Wednesday, the group released its candidate ratings for this year’s District races. While Orange’s main rival Kwame Brown outscored him, the group said Orange “is the most improved candidate in this election” after eight years as “the weakest member of the Council” on the group’s issues. While in 2006, Orange declared the other mayoral candidates morally unfit for office due to their support of marriage equality,” he “has apologized several times for those statements and has atoned.”
Orange, in fact, received a higher score than Mayor Adrian Fenty -- GLAA said it was “struck by the numerous promises made four years ago that were promptly broken” by Fenty, who “led the exceptional legal fight to keep and defend our marriage rights” but “spent nearly two years obstructing the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act, which is now a model law protecting the rights and responsibilities of LGBT parents.”
Orange also received a higher score than Republican Council candidates Tim Day and Marc Morgan -- who are gay.