Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DC Marriage Equality Clears First Hurdle

On Tuesday the DC City Council voted 11-2 giving preliminary approve to a bill that will allow same-sex marriage in the nation's capital. The vote clears the way for a final vote on December 15. DC Mayor Adrian Fenty has said he will sign the bill into law when it gets to his desk.

Despite opposition from religious groups in the city, public turnout for the vote was relatively small compared to the over flowing crowds that turned out for a vote earlier this year when the council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

The two opposing votes were cast by council members Yvette Alexander and former mayor-for-life and convicted crack-head Marion Barry.

DC Agenda reports:
"This bill is the next step, a logical step, in the progress we have made in significantly expanding our domestic partnership law over the last 17 years,” said Phil Mendelson, chair of the Committee on Public Safety & Judiciary, which shepherded the bill through the Council.

“I don’t think it’s a giant step,” he said. “It’s a final step in a process in a steady march since 1992 as the District of Columbia, as a matter of public policy, has proceeded toward full equality regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.”
What makes this marriage equality effort unique is that, just as with opposite sex couples,  there will be no residency requirement for couples seeking to marry in the District of Columbia, which could open the door to challenges to discriminatory marriage laws in other jurisdictions when those married in DC go home.
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