DC Same-Sex Marriage Bill a ‘Beacon’ for Equal Rights

December 16, 2009

(ChattahBox)— On Tuesday, the Washington, DC City Council passed historic legislation permitting same-sex marriage, which would make the District the sixth community in the country to legalize marriage between same-sex couples. The council vote was the second and final vote on the bill that easily passed with a 11 to 2 decision. The passage of the same-sex marriage measure set off predictable condemnation from the religious right and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. But council members remained unfazed by the controversy, hailing the bill, as a “beacon’ of hope for equal rights across the country.

The bill needs a signature from DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, which is expected later this week. Once enacted into law, DC same-sex married couples would be awarded the same rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples under District laws. Same-sex couples from across the country could also travel to the District to legally marry.

Businesses catering to the wedding industry, such as banquet halls, restaurants and hotels foresee a jump in business when same-sex couples start taking the plunge. The Office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates that as many as 10,000 same-sex couples from different parts of the country could marry in DC during the next three years. The weddings are expected to flood the local economy with millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, opponents of the bill have vowed to stop it and plan to meet with Congressional lawmakers to devise ways to kill the measure. But it’s unlikely that the Democratically controlled House and Senate would get involved.

During the debate of the bill, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C threatened to stop helping residents under its Catholic Charities organization, which serves about 68,000 poor and homeless people in the city, unless the bill was amended to exempt the archdiocese from its provisions.

Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) didn’t take kindly to being threatened. “If they find living under our laws so oppressive that they can no longer take city resources, the city will have to find an alternative partner to step in to fill the shoes,” said Catania. The DC Council and the archdiocese remain at an impasse and are continuing to discuss Catholic Charities’ role in city services for the poor.

It’s unlikely opponents can generate enough support to kill the measure, but same-sex weddings will likely not take place until March 2010 at the earliest. Same-sex marriages are now legal in Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts. And next month, New Hampshire will permit same-sex couples to wed.

Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) believes the legislative body did the right thing, despite the controversy and he is proud of the bill. “Today, I am very proud of our city. I hope today we serve as beacon for those who have not been given full rights across our country,” said Wells.



3 Responses to “DC Same-Sex Marriage Bill a ‘Beacon’ for Equal Rights”

  1. Jake on December 17th, 2009 10:50 am

    If the capital city can do it – so can every capital city of every state in the country! This is another large step in the right direction for America and American freedoms. Know how to help! Here’s a good resource:http://tictacdo.com/ttd/Defend-Your-Support-of-Gay-Marriage-Rights (ignore the lipstick, I have no idea why it’s there – this is a quality article.) Another point for DC vs NYC.

  2. Jake on December 18th, 2009 10:26 am

    Freedom, it turns out, is good for the economy? Revolutionary! And 11-2 – a milestone indeed!

  3. Alan on December 21st, 2009 7:09 pm

    >During the debate of the bill, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C threatened to stop helping residents under its Catholic Charities organization, <<

    Which shows exactly what the Catholic Church thinks of charity. It isn’t goodness for goodness’ sake; it’s politics and influence peddling. What a corrupt and evil institution.

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