Same-Gender Marriage Clears Hurdle in D.C.

D.C. Council votes on approval for bill in favor of same-gender couples marriage rights

The D.C. Council voted overwhelmingly on December 1 to give preliminary approval to a bill that would give same-gender couples the right to marry in the city.

The bill passed its first reading 11-2 and is now headed to a second reading in the next two weeks. If it passes the city council, the legislation will make its way to the mayoral desk. Mayor Adrian Fenty has already pledged to sign the measure.

“It’s a day I never thought I would see and I never thought I would have the privilege to participate in as a gay person,” Council mem-
ber and bill author David Catania said, accord- ing to D.C. Agenda. “And I want to thank, again, everyone on both sides of this discus- sion who, by and large, engaged in an extraordinarily civil discussion on what is a difficult matter for many.”

Former D.C. mayor Marion Barry cast one of the two negative votes, but said in his speech that marriage was the only issue where he would diverge from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s political goals.

“I am firm in my commitment to this commu- nity,” he said. “But I’m going to vote no because my conscience says so and because the majority of my constituents say so.”

Phil Mendelson, chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary, said that the deci- sion was just another in a series of advances D.C. has made in the area of LGBT rights.

“I don’t think it’s a giant step,” Mendelson told D.C. Agenda. “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.”