Washington, DC gets gay marriage bill
Same Sex Marriage has been long anticipated in DC, and will likely pass:
Although Congress could block the bill, which was introduced on Tuesday, it is unlikely considering precedent.
A Vice President of the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance has said he is optimistic but that there is still work to be done to get the bill passed.
The bill includes a clause which precludes religious authorities from being obliged to perform the ceremonies.
WASHINGTON — Same-sex couples would be allowed to marry in the nation's capital under a bill introduced Tuesday by a District of Columbia councilman.
The bill was almost certain to pass and had been expected for some time. But whether it becomes law is more complicated because Congress gets to review D.C. legislation before it takes effect.
At least one Republican congressman has said he will work to have the bill defeated if it passes the D.C. council.
"Some fights are worth fighting for," said U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, who thinks Democrats in Congress would likely block any vote on D.C.'s measure. "This is one of them."
The city began in July recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Congress had a chance to act on that legislation, but it quietly passed earlier this year.
D.C. Councilman David Catania introduced the new bill 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 said religious leaders and institutions are not required to perform the marriages or rent their space for same-sex ceremonies.
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 only rejected three pieces of legislation. According to Brian Flowers, the city's general counsel, the last time was in 1991, when Congress rejected a law 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.