Friday, September 11, 2009

Votes Aligned for Gay Marriage Bill in Washington, D.C.

09/11/09 Washington Post / Gay Marriage Watch:
[A] bill [to legalize same-sex marriage] by David A. Catania, one of two openly gay members of the council, has been drafted and is ready to be introduced in the coming weeks. Catania (I-At Large) expects a final vote before the end of the year ... Tom McClusky, a vice president for legislative strategy at the Family Research Council, said that "a number of legislators are looking at different things" in preparation for the fight moving to Capitol Hill ... After the council approved a bill in May legalizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, members of Congress from both parties largely steered clear of the issue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was quoted as saying at the time that the District should be treated like a state."
Catania discusses marriage equality in the District here.

If Congress does not intervene, a referendum to overturn the expected law appears unlikely. This summer, the Alliance Defense Fund sued the D.C. Elections and Ethics Board when the Board found that a referendum on out-of-state recognition would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act. The judge in the case ruled against the plaintiffs. The Human Rights Act would make it equally difficult for a similar lawsuit to succeed if opponents of same-sex marriage tried their luck again with the Elections Board:
Except as otherwise provided for by District law or when otherwise lawfully and reasonably permitted, it shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for a District government agency or office to limit or refuse to provide any facility, service, program, or benefit to any individual on the basis of an individual's actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, or place of residence or business. (§ 2-1402.73)

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