Motley's NOM Money

National opponents of same-sex marriage donate to D.C. candidate challenging marriage bill author David Catania

By Yusef Najafi
Published on March 12, 2010, 5:55pm | Comments

Last Spring, when the D.C. City Council voted 12-1 in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions in the District, Paul Trantham riled up opponents of the measure by filling the Council's halls with chaos, shouting: ''Vote them off the Council! Each one of them… they are destroying our youth.''

Those opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage in D.C., such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), are doing just what Trantham suggested.

NOM is supporting Rev. Anthony J. Motley for the 2010 City Council election to de-seat gay Councilmember David Catania (At-Large), author of the bill that made marriage equality a reality in Washington.

Motley has accepted two campaign contributions from NOM, and another from the Committee to Elect Delano Hunter. Hunter is running for a seat to represent Ward 5. He has also been supported by NOM.

''Obviously we're interested in electing candidates that will support traditional marriage and allowing voters of D.C. the right to have their say on the issue,'' Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, says. ''Rev. Motley does.''

Motley could not be reached for comment as of Friday, March 12.

Local gay activist Bob Summersgill says he's not concerned that Motley will put up much of a fight against Catania, who is seeking reelection. Still, Summersgill adds, it's important to raise awareness about the origin of Motley's funds and what those contributions mean for LGBT residents of the District.

''We want to make sure that people that are working to hurt our families, don't get elected,'' Summersgill says.

''If Motley is taking money [from NOM], it means, at least to some degree, he agrees with their position, and he is running against the author of the marriage bill, which is not insignificant.''

Attention brought to Motley's campaign contributions by Summersgill and Keith Ivey, shed light on a technicality that might weaken Motley's campaign funds.

According to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance (OCF), candidates seeking election for a City Council At-Large seat may accept no more than $1,000 from one organization or individual. But Motley's campaign contribution listings on OCF's official web site, shows that it accepted $950 from ''The National Organization for Marriage, PPC,'' on January 29, and another $950 from ''The National Organization for Marriage, Inc.'' on February 1.

Brown says the two contributions were a mistake and that only one should have been made.

''We've only made one contribution to Anthony Motley. There should only be one check from NOM.''

According to Wesley Williams, public affairs manager at OFC, the technicality will be solved no later than June 10, the next ''reporting date'' in which Motley's committee would have to respond to a letter from OFC's audit division, if they do not refund the money themselves.

Williams says contributions go through a data-entry process that automatically lists contribution items publicly on the OFC site. Williams adds that after that, an ''excessive contribution'' report is generated for review by an auditor.

''There's a pretty much a 99 percent chance that we will catch excessive contributions,'' Williams says.

For Summersgill the 2010 City Council elections are an opportunity to thank the Council for marriage equality.

''We want to make sure everyone who supported and voted with us on the marriage bill, gets reelected, or at least doesn't lose because of that vote.''