Thursday, May 7, 2009

Congress Won't Block DC Marriage Recognition

"Congressional Quarterly" is reporting that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Ca., has stated that there are no plans for congress to block passage of a measure in the District of Columbia that would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other parts of the country. The DC city council voted on May, 5th to adopt the measure that mayor Adrian M. Fenty has said he will sign.

Under the District of Columbia charter, congress has 30 days block any measure from being enacted. House Republicans are urging congress to block the measure, but have little support from the Democrat-led House and Senate.

Marriage-equality opponent, Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is working with leaders in the Republican party to block DC from implementing the new policy by tying it to the DC Voting Rights Bill, which would give the District a vote in congress.

DC Delegate Eleanor Holms-Norton, who has long pushed for full congressional representation for the District, said she would fight any Republican attempt to add language on same-sex marriage to her legislation, just as she’s fighting GOP efforts to use the bill to rewrite the city’s gun laws.

“Republicans have done enough harm to the D.C. voting rights bill as it is. I mean to make sure they do no more harm”, Norton said.

Speaker Pelosi also said yesterday that she will not be urging congress to take action to repeal 1996 The Defense of Marriage Act. The California congresswoman reaffirmed her support for the LGBT community saying the congress will instead be focusing on the eventual repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which bans gays and lesbians on serving openly.

“Members will make a priority of issues like gays in the military. And where we have prospects of success, we always want to expand to a place of more opportunity and more freedom . . . for all Americans,” she said. “But right now, our agenda is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. And as we move on that front, concurrently, we have to make some decisions about what is possible and our values-based initiatives as well.”

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