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D.C. Marriage Bill Introduced

Timothy Kincaid

October 6th, 2009

As expected, David Catania introduced a bill to the city council of the District of Columbia to legalize same-sex marriage. (NYT)

City Council members introduced legislation Tuesday to allow same-sex marriage here. If it passes, as expected, Washington would be the first city below the Mason-Dixon line to allow such unions. The city\’s bill is expected to become law by December.

General consensus is that there will be no concerted attempt in Congress to block the home rule decision by the District and that, after some denouncements which will be mostly ignored but good for politicking back home, the law will go into effect.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, said he did not believe his fellow opponents of same-sex marriage would be able to block the city\’s measure legalizing it.

“Given the other issues Congress is focused on, such as health care, it hasn\’t got much attention,” said Representative Chaffetz, the ranking member of the House subcommittee that oversees the District. “You couple that with the Democrats\’ stranglehold on House rules, and the minority is left out of the legislative process.”

Some are warning that future changes in Congressional make up could result in Republican efforts to ban marriage equality in the District. And that could be true. However, I believe that if the policy were firmly in place for a number of years, such efforts would appear distasteful, especially to those Republicans who still believe that “smaller local government” is an ideology instead of a campaign slogan.

Incidentally, Bishop Harry Jackson is trumpeting a theme that we discussed earlier this week.

Bishop Jackson, who helped file the petition for a referendum, said: “The faith community has been concerned for months, that it\’s been cast as bigots, racists, and worse. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

I think that perhaps anti-gay activists may be starting to hear the voices of their own conscience.



October 6th, 2009 | LINK

That quote from Jackson is worth much more than anything Obama will say at his HRC fundraiser.

David C.
October 6th, 2009 | LINK

If “Bishop” Jackson wants anybody to believe him, I’d suggest that he and the “faith community” stop acting like bigots.

Perhaps Jackson does not want to be labelled a bigot because he is instead a liar and a fraud, having claimed a DC residence when he did not in fact live there, or maybe “Bishop” Jackson would prefer a more fitting label for himself: crook.

October 6th, 2009 | LINK

The only way it could be repealed is by an act of legislation which, if this is law for a couple of years, probably wouldn’t survive a filibuster in the Senate. I assume that Obama wouldn’t sign such a repeal anyways, though one never knows with him…

October 6th, 2009 | LINK

If the Jackson’s sheeple have been cast as bigots, it’s because he did the casting. All we’ve needed to do is highlight it.

Lindoro Almaviva
October 6th, 2009 | LINK

“You couple that with the Democrats’ stranglehold on House rules, and the minority is left out of the legislative process.”

Do I detect a hint of bitterness in that comment?

I mean, because the former republican congress would never hold it kidnapped so they could pass all the bull crap legislation they wanted and then cry when the Democrats wanted to use a filibuster to block some of that stuff.

I mean, sometimes the phrase you reap what you sow does come in handy.

October 6th, 2009 | LINK

Unfortunately, BTB and most of the blogosphere has failed to identify the only real remaining threat to marriage equality in DC. It is not Congress. It is a lawsuit by Jackson or other anti-gays to compel the DC government to accept petitions for a ballot referendum. Their prior effort in this regard ended in failure at the Superior Court level. They did not appeal that decision.

That means the DC Court of Appeals still has not been heard on the issue of whether the marriage bill is subject to referendum. The DC Court of Appeals is not bound by the prior decision of the Superior Court, so the whole issue is essentially a clean slate for them. There is a very bad prior Court of Appeals ruling on the books from 1995 which the court could treat as precedent, or which the court could rule is not valid precedent.

I think we will win on this and there will be no referendum, but it surely remains a real threat that warrants attention.

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