Same-Sex Marriage Bill In DC Appears Unstoppable

A bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in the nation

same-sex marriage ban

A bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in the nation's capital was introduced Tuesday, a measure that even opponents acknowledged seems almost unstoppable.

The bill was nearly certain to pass the D.C. city council, but whether it becomes law is more complicated because Congress gets an opportunity to review D.C. legislation before it takes effect. Still, even challengers in Congress acknowledged the bill was likely to become law.

The city began in July recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Congress had a chance to act on that legislation but didn't.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah who said he would work to defeat the new bill, anticipates that will happen again with the proposal. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she believed it was a matter for D.C. to decide.

D.C. Councilman David Catania introduced the new measure at a standing-room only council meeting. The independent and one of two openly gay council members said he hopes for a vote in December.

"There is no question that we are about to embark on an exciting journey here in the district," he said.

His bill specifically says religious leaders and institutions are not required to perform the marriages or rent their space for same-sex ceremonies unless they let the public use or rent them.

If the bill becomes law, the city will follow Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, which issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. New Hampshire will begin issuing them in January.

The legislature in Maine has also passed a same-sex marriage bill, but voters will decide in November whether to reverse it. California briefly issued licenses before voters passed a law stopping the practice.

In the District of Columbia, the bill was co-introduced by 10 of the city council's 13 members and has the support of the mayor.

If Congress blocked the bill, it would be rare. In the past 25 years, Congress has rejected only three pieces of legislation. According to Brian Flowers, the city's general counsel, Congress rejected a law in 1991 that would have permitted taller buildings in the city.

In 1999, Congress amended a bill so that city medical marijuana would not be legalized. Congress also repealed a law that would have required D.C. government employees to be city residents.

Same-sex marriage supporters cheered the bill's introduction. D.C. residents Juan Rondon and Edward Grandis came to the meeting wearing T-shirts that displayed copies of their California marriage license.

"I feel a sensation of relief," Grandis said.

According the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 3,500 same-sex couples living together in the city in 2008, though the number has a wide margin of error. D.C. has 600,000 residents.

Rick Rosendall, vice president for political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, said he was proud of the city but acknowledged: "We have a long way to go, of course."

The Catholic Church and Washington's archbishop, Donald Wuerl, have been vocal in opposing the legislation. And a group led by Bishop Harry Jackson, the pastor of a Maryland church, had previously asked D.C.'s board of elections to authorize a ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

The board will consider the request later this month.

"We are prepared to go to court," Jackson said.


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  • by MIRA Location: NEWPORT on Oct 12, 2009 at 03:42 PM
    it is a shame that we have finally voted in a historic black president and then this is the kind of stuff he is doing......however to all of us citizens that dont believe in the homosexual lifestyle....dont worry he has this far into his presidency proved that he does not put his money where his mouth is....he has yet to follow through with anything he has said he would do...prime example....i will close guantanamo....nope not done....so i dont anywhere either just his big favorite word...RHETORIC....LOL
  • by John Location: Mount Olive on Oct 12, 2009 at 02:35 PM
    This world has gone crazy! Men marrying men, women marrying women. Obama is taking this country to extreme liberalism at such a pace, I don't think we can recover. Its time the regular people stand up and tell all the loud minorities with their special needs to sit back and shut up; be as weird as you want in your own home, but don't expect me to accept / embrace it.
  • by L WORD Location: HAVELOCK on Oct 12, 2009 at 09:44 AM
    WOW WHO IS PUSHING THIS GAY LIFESTYLE THIER A BOOK CALLED TANGO ABOUT TWO GAY PEGUINS THAT'S IS READ BY 1'ST AND 2 ND GRADER'S WHAT ABOUT THE GOOD BOOK THE BIBLE.I DONT HATE GAY'S OR BI'S BUT DONT MAKE BEING GAY LIKE A RACE ,GAY'S COME IN ALL COLOR'S AND GENDER'S . WELL IF A GAY COUPLE WANT'S TO BE TOGETHER THEY SHOULD CALL IT SOMETHING ELSE LIKE LOVE PARTNER SWINGER . NOT THE BOND AND WORD OF GOD THAT JOIN'S A MAN AND WOMEN .AGAIN THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE TO BE GAY OR NOT TO BE THAT'S MY CHOICE IF I WAS A BLACK WOMAN I WOULD RATHER HAVE MY SON BRING HOME A WHITE WOMAN THAN A BLACK BOYFRIEND OR HUSBAND . THERE IS NO SHAME LEFT .
  • by So sad on Oct 12, 2009 at 09:35 AM
    Mary I agree with you, but do you really think people are going to let other people be happy? Not in this life time.
  • by COE on Oct 9, 2009 at 07:43 AM
    I really try to be open minded.I have read each post.It would be hard for me to judge anyone person's true character.I hardly think that 1000 digit comments totaly express all that make up each person here.Some speak of love,others hate.I have lived long enough to know that a COMMITMENT is BETTER than a CONTRACT.I also know that legislation helps to secure safety,but cannot bring contentment to the soul.I also am not religious,but I beleive that a person's peace comes from making good decision for one's self, caring about the needs of others, and loving oneself.I cannot make anyone care for me,agree with me or love me.I have talked to sevral gay men on this issue in the last week.All saw no need for marriage or a marriage contract exept on issues concerning money:S and F taxes,SSI benifits,ins,Inheritances.All agreed on these points.They all agreed without commitment from a partner even marriage doesn't protect these interest.ALL SAID ASK YOU STR8 people.:)
  • by Yay Location: Greenville on Oct 9, 2009 at 03:47 AM
    Mine is Apple/Apple too! :)
  • by NEWS FOR U Location: Greenvile on Oct 8, 2009 at 08:22 PM
    WOOHOO YAY.There has and are people,blood relatives in the US that believe they have a right to marry.This is NOT what I or you believe,it is a fact.Some have made petitions for legal marriage.Most Incest laws came from religious origin.The same laws that constitute same sex marriage will uphold the father/daughter loving couple to be wed.Why should a Father and adult son that are engaged in a homosexual relationship not have the right to marry if the religious stands in the way of homesexuals.They have SAME CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS to be treated equally under the law free from R.And from your post because "open mindedness" over rides "ethics",you support their right to believe and act upon it.I am surely not a religious person,many people that know me consider me "very" open minded.I respect every rights to believe ,but surely not eveyone's belief,as I am sure they do not mine.M/M apple/apple & W/W orange/orange..Was that your best reasoning.For sex MY PREFERENCE IS APPLE/APPLE. U GET IT?
  • by Madeline on Oct 8, 2009 at 09:44 AM
    School Yard Hierarchy.The leading Lady's attack on religion was an expression of hate for humanity which led to her death by the very people she empowered.One person full of hate that attacked the very system that Guaranteed her right to live as an atheist.We need more people like her.To violently oppose in the courts anything that is good.People have been working together for over two hundred years to get where we are.I agree when do we stop catering to every whim? When America's fate is like Mrs. O'Hair's? I am really trying to be open? Just questioning?
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Oct 8, 2009 at 07:19 AM
    I am trying to ram atheism down your throat OSOC? How many times have you spewed bible rhetoric on these blogs? Anyways, how christian are you to demonize someone because who they are? love they neighbor..... and if homosexuality is so bad, and god is against it, then why has your Castro District been around for so long? Why hasn't it been destroyed like sodom and gammorah (I don't know how they are spelt, but regardless, good bedtime story). Maybe if we worked together things could be better, instead of the school yard hierarchy we are living in today.
  • by Yay Location: Greenville on Oct 8, 2009 at 03:56 AM
    To NEWS FOR U; ummm...marriage of the same sex has nothing at all to do with opening doors to unethical practices such as incest. Marriage of the opposite sex surely has nothing to do with a brother and sister or two cousins of opposite sex having sex! I do not go to church either, but I do not bash anyone's beliefs. I am open minded and I respect everyone's own beliefs. You stated earlier that you prefer Marriage to remain between a man and a woman, so you're the one who seems to be concerned about the ethics of yourself and yourself only. We are only talking about marriage here...If OR when Marriage for same-sex loving couples becomes legal; people who practice or desire unethical practices are not going to demand that those illegal practices become legal. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
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