Are Marriages Now Legal in D.C.?

Timothy Kincaid

June 4th, 2009

It has now been 30 days since the Council of Washington, D.C. voted 12 – 1 to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed elsewhere. Congress’ window to veto the Council’s decision seems to have run out.

Does this then mean that D.C. residents can now take a five hour drive up I-95 and return to live in legally wedded bliss?

ANSWER: From our informed readers below: “Nope”

It appears to be legislative days, not calendar days. So D.C. residents still have time to rent the hall and plan the local reception for their out-of-state wedding.


June 4th, 2009

Um, no – the 30-day review is actually 30 legislative days – which means days on which Congress convenes. That means all weekends and holidays like Memorial Day don’t count.

As I understand it, the 30-day review period will end around July 4, although there is a coalition of haters trying to get a referendum on our local elections this fall. IIRC, they only have until the end of Congress’ legislative review period to gather signatures, and the DC office responsible for such things has not ruled on whether such a referendum is legal – the referendum process cannot include items that would violate the Human Rights Law, which includes LGBT individuals.


June 4th, 2009

I asked the Mayor’s office this question, and they responded that the expected close of the review period will be July 6. A WaPo reporter also confirmed that the 6th is the day the DC Council expects the period to close. There is supposed to be a hearing on the referendum to determine if they can go forward with collecting signatures on June 10th, although the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics hasn’t published the proposal or given notice of the hearing date in the D.C. Register yet. The new issue comes out Friday, so we should have more informaiton then. It’s important to challenge the referendum and hold it up as long as possible, including in court. The less time they have to collect signatures the better.


June 4th, 2009

what they said. it’s legislative days.;


June 4th, 2009

DC transmitted the legislation to Congress on May 11 – Congress was off Memorial Day Week and will be off the week before July 4 —
so July 6 is the expected date. You can track progress for the DC marriage act here:–AMENDMENT-ACT-OF-2009.&ID=21817


June 5th, 2009

Here’s a question — before Loving vs. Virginia, interracial marriage was illegal in many states. But those states where it was illegal to perform an interracial marriage did recognize interracial marriages performed elsewhere. (I know this because my parents were married in 1957 in DC, but lived in Virginia).

Is the marriage movement also pushing respect for marriages from other states? As far as I know, DC is the sole jurisdiction to legislate on this. It’s not as important as marriage but it is important.

Chris Edelson

June 9th, 2009

NY already recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions. MD is considering whether this can be done (attorney general is reviewing).


June 9th, 2009

Kris-Your parents were lucky then. If one of your parents was white and the other wasn’t their DC marriage would’ve been recognized in Virginia only as evidence of their having violated Virginia law. The Lovings were also married in DC and then moved back to Virginia where they were arrested. After pleading guilty they moved back to DC (their one-year sentence was suspended on the condition that they not return to Virginia together for 25 years).

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