Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, DC's first delegate to Congress, spoke out against marriage equality for the District last week by saying, in part, "I have some brilliant friends who are gay, and it bothers me that they're not going to pass those genes on." Dan Savage scratches his head:

I'm sure your gay friends, who can pass their genes on now by doing surrogacy or co-parenting with lesbians, appreciate your concern for their DNA, Rev. Fauntroy. But gay people who can't legally marry each other typically don't marry opposite-sex partners instead. We're still going to fuck each other and shack up with each other and we're starting families with each other even in the absence of legal marriage rights. And we really shouldn't be encouraged to marry opposite-sex partners for the sake of appearances or to pass on our genes. Am I right, Mrs. Craig? Can I get an amen, Mrs. Haggard? Care to share your feelings on the subject, Mrs. McGreevey?

Robert McCartney recorded some other colorful characters at last week's hearing:

"Once you became a homosexual, you gave up your rights," Leroy Swailes told the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. He is the founder of Tears for Children, whose Web site says it's a Maryland nonprofit group that opposes gay activists on children's issues. He wore a T-shirt saying "Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender morals are worse than animals."

Janet Boynes, who testified that she was a lesbian for 14 years before repenting and founding a ministry to convert others to heterosexuality, said, "They chose to go into it, and they have to decide they want to go out."

The intolerance at the core of the opponents' message -- and gay groups' success in focusing the public's attention on it -- helps explain why same-sex marriage has advanced as much as it has.

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