Sunday, January 3, 2010

D.C. Council Approves Gay Marriage

December 16, 2009
D.C. Council Approves Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON — The City Council passed a measure Tuesday legalizing same-sex marriage, making the nation’s capital the first jurisdiction below the Mason-Dixon Line to allow such unions.

The bill, which passed by an 11-to-2 vote, may still face obstacles in Congress, among city voters and in the courts, but most advocates of same-sex marriage say they expect it to become law by spring. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has said he will sign the bill.

“Today’s vote is an important victory not only for the gay and lesbian community but for everyone who supports equal rights,” said Councilman David A. Catania, an independent and the author of the bill.

Opponents have vowed to overturn the bill by putting it to a referendum or by working with Congress, which has a month to review the measure once it is signed.

The city already recognizes same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. New Hampshire will begin allowing same-sex marriage early next year.

Republicans and conservative Democrats in the House, which oversees the District of Columbia’s budget, are considering a variety of legislative methods to block the bill, including adding a rider to future appropriations bills. But Democrats who support the measure can probably prevent that.

Other opponents vowed to continue fighting.

“The City Council’s action today is not the final word,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and chairman of a group called Stand4MarriageDC.

Mr. Jackson said he would lobby Congress to intervene, but he acknowledged that such a move threatened to upset some of his local supporters, who may be put off by the prospect of subverting local autonomy in Washington.

The city’s Board of Elections and Ethics decided not to hold a referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage, and Mr. Jackson’s group is challenging that decision in court on Jan. 6.

Councilman Catania opposes putting the matter to a popular vote. He noted that in a referendum in 1865, only 36 of the city’s residents voted to extend the franchise to African-American men.

“It isn’t that I’m fearful of losing,” Mr. Catania said. “I think the process is diminishing. I think that putting the rights of minorities on the ballot and allowing the forces of intolerance to spend an unlimited amount to demonize and marginalize a population is unsavory.”

In November, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said that if the ordinance were passed, the church might have to limit its social service programs that help residents with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, religious organizations would not be required to perform same-sex weddings or make space available for them. Officials from the archdiocese, however, said they feared that the ordinance might require them to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples.

Other religious groups have endorsed the bill.

“Social justice and equality are goals for all people of faith, which is why so many religious leaders and faithful people in the District support this legislation,” said the Rev. Robert Hardies, senior pastor of All Souls Church Unitarian and a co-chairman of D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality. “The D.C. marriage equality bill ends harmful discrimination against same-sex couples, and we celebrate the City Council for supporting the human rights of all residents.”

Same-sex marriage was briefly legalized in California until the policy was struck down in 2008. Last month, Maine voters repealed a similar bill, making their state the 31st to vote in a referendum to block gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

hey its keke and of course i got something to say. washington dc council passes a measure that can legalize gay marriage. ofcourse people are already opposing this and planning on fighting it. well first off let me say that im glad dc did this. gays should have the same rights are any other human being MARRIAGE. marrriage isn't just the wedding. legally a married couple has certain rights that two people that are just in a relationship do not have.why don't other people support gay rights? well they put the bible up and swear that they are doing a godly thing by making human beings feel like outsides. god accepts us all and we all on sunday after partying and drinking all night saturday. please! if we all really lived by the biblde or want to bring it in everything, every single person wouldn't be allowed to be themselves. let people have self expression. gay people don't want you! i don't see gay people attack people or beat up straight people. How does gay people having the right to get married effect you. it doesn't!!! let gay people be happy or as miserable in marriage like everyone else. give them a choice to have rights if something happens to their partner. you don't have to like it but accept that things must change................................. this article is accurate and i agree on its content. yea i said i support gay rights,blue,red,purple,yellow,brown and orange rights too.i thank the new york times for this article and i support the dc decision to legal gay marriage. ---keke
ps. comment..tell me what you think? you support gay rights?...why or why not

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