Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Debate over phase-out of domestic partnerships in D.C.'s marriage-equality legislation; hearing on D.C. initiative to ban same-sex marriage

10/19/09 Washington Blade:

On October 26th, the D.C. Council's Committee on Public Safety & Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. The bill provides for the phasing out of domestic partnerships, so that D.C. residents otherwise eligible to register new domestic partnerships could no longer do so after January 2011. Law professor Nancy Polikoff has joined other interested parties in calling for the removal of this provision:
Polikoff, who played a role in drafting the expanded version of the D.C. domestic partnership law, said she would call on the Council to remove the provision in [the] same-sex marriage bill phasing out domestic new domestic partnerships. She said that although [the] bill would most likely allow the city to continue to recognize domestic partnerships from other jurisdictions, the Council and the community should strongly consider retaining the domestic partnership option for both same-sex and opposite sex couples.
She elaborates on her position here.

10/20/09 Washington Examiner:
At 10 a.m. the same day [of the Council's hearing on the marriage-equality bill], the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is scheduled to hold its hearing on a proposed voter initiative to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The elections board is expected to reject the initiative as discrimination under the D.C. Human Rights Act, just as it ruled earlier this year in the case of a proposed referendum on the District's gay marriage recognition law. Bob King, a Ward 5 advisory neighborhood commissioner and a leader of the initiative effort, said the two hearings were "obviously" scheduled on the same day "to inconvenience our people." If the elections board rejects the initiative, King said, they will go to court. If the council adopts a same-sex marriage law, he added, they will take their case to Congress.
See my earlier post for background on the threat of legal action against the D.C. Elections Board.

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