May 5th, 2009
12:40 PM ET
6 years ago

D.C. council votes to recognize same-sex marriage

While the council voted to recognize same-sex marriages, those marriages are not currently allowed in the district.
While the council voted to recognize same-sex marriages, those marriages are not currently allowed in the district.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Washington D.C. City Council voted 12-1 Tuesday to recognize same-sex marriages from states that allow those unions.

Mayor Adrian Fenty has indicated he will sign the measure. It will then become law after a mandatory 30-day congressional review period if Congress fails to overturn the measure.

Former Mayor Marion Barry cast the lone dissenting vote.

While the council voted to recognize same-sex marriages, those marriages are not currently allowed in the district.

Three states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa - currently allow same-sex marriages. A law passed by Vermont legislators that makes gay and lesbian marriages legal takes affect in September. New Hampshire lawmakers are close to passing a similar bill.

Fifty-four percent of adults questioned in an April 23-26 nationwide CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said that marriages between gay or lesbian couples should not be recognized as valid, with 44 percent suggesting they should be considered legal.


Filed under: Same-sex marriage
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Matt in DC

    I was able to sit in on this vote today and was humbled by the overwhelming support of the members of the DC City Council!
    Mr. Barry, (who was reading a newspaper during the testimonials by the way) someone who has been divorced, found in posession of drugs, and has been investigated for tax fraud; should not be calling himself a "moral compass" for the Christian community! Do you want a man who cheated on his wife and then divorced her to tell you about the joys of denying marriage to gay couples?
    Polls are misleading and regardless of the numbers; minorities should not be subject to the discrimination agenda of a majority! You could probably get a poll to say 55% of people disapprove of divorce, but yet at least that many have been divorced–so do we say outlaw divorce because "more" people are against it?

    May 5, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. paul (staunch Moderate)

    To: Bill in California; Polls or no polls, it's good to see lawmakers know there should be a separation of church and state!

    Please try to remember that our Constitution guarantees us Freedom of (as well as from) Religion. Churches do not issue marriage liscences. Counties, cities, and states do.

    That also means that no organized religion will ever be forced to perform marriage ceremonies.

    May 5, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Sara from Arizona

    Marriage=Man and woman.

    May 5, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Mitt Romney is talking about "hot potatoes". He probaly eats more expensive food than that. with his ten homes. he is destroying his party. it will be a one man party. with only romney left.

    May 5, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. OrlandoGuy

    Bill In CA, this is not about the will of the voters. It is about equality of the law. If you are married your marriage is not affected one bit if gays and lesbian couples are allowed to marry. Nonetheless opinion is swinging towards acceptance of same sex marriage.

    May 5, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. John, Brooklyn, New York

    Bill in California,

    First, it appears that actually the people of a handful of states (and DC) and their elected officials are among the 44% of those who actually believe in civil rights for everyone. Clearly, they are much more broad minded than your beloved California.

    Second, civil rights are NOT an issue of popularity.

    May 5, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. sean in virginia

    No, it isn't. The stripping of civil rights shouldn't be allowed by mob majority.

    May 5, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Mike in California

    The tide is slowly turning. Maybe in my lifetime I will see a day when every American has equal rights. I do respect what the religious right believes, but I also believe in separation of church and state. If you take religion out of the equation, there is no argument against gay marriage.

    May 5, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. TCM

    another group crumbling from the pressure from a group of deviants...

    May 5, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Benjamin

    @ Bill:

    Just because the rest of the country is still bigoted, doesn't mean D.C. is. I commend them.

    Besides, that same poll reports a massive generational gap - older voters prefer to keep it illegal, younger voters do not.

    In other words, the future is legal same sex marriage.

    May 5, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Ia Guy

    To Bill:

    Polls, I sure do! It says that there is a definite generational gap when it comes to same sex marriage. 58% of those 18-34 think gay marriage should be legal...just looks like a matter of time.

    How old are you again? Bible-thump much?

    Enjoy your day.

    May 5, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Niki

    If the "mandate of the people" is deemed to violate the equal protection clause in the Constitution then YES it is void. Whether or not it is in violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution is a matter of interpretation of the laws by the judiciary. The civil union could be a viable alternative (Except any civil union laws could be struck down because of that whole "Separate institutions are inherently unequal" bit). Its not always as simple as going with the will of the people (whether it should be or not, I don't know, but right now this is where it stands).

    May 5, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. frank, pennsylvania

    Why are our elected officials not listening to the voice of the people regarding issues of marriage and abortion. There is an urgent need for a national referendum to put an end to this drift to same-sex marriage and abortion!

    May 5, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Chris

    the mandate of the people in the 1940s was that black people should not have equal rights. was that right? the role of the government should be to protect the right of the minority and increase the rights of the majority at the expense of the minority. Two gay people marrying does not make a heterosexual marriage anything less. In fact prisoners who have committed murders have the right but gay people do not. You are not gay so you will never understand Bill what it feels to deny basic human rights and by your crass comment it seems you do not know what it is like to show empathy. Finally for the religious we are a nation of separartion of church and state and if we should follow religion then maybe we should choose the Muslim religion where women should not be allowed to drive, walk alone,
    or dress in skimpy clothes. My point is religious leaders are extreme and do not follow common sense. If we followed religion to the tee we would not have made many advances in society, medicine, science, and technology.

    May 5, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Liz

    Basic civil rights shouldn't be subject to the whims of the people. If they were, we'd still have slavery.

    May 5, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Jake

    thank you, DC! set the example for the rest of the 46 states to follow!

    May 5, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. Laurens R. Hunt, Jersey City, NJ

    This is exactly what I want to see and hear. How spouses arrange their marriage is their own personal business. When I comment on this issue I often add that I commend the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Trans-Gender, and Queer) Groups for their outreach. This includes PFLAG (Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays), the Pride Groups, and Queer Advocacy Projects. I wish that all 50 of the United States would do this. The spousal and marital arrangements are a private matter, and couples of different sexual orientations should be allowed to go on living their lives like anyone else, no differently than that of one man and one woman.

    May 5, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Jerry of Madison WI

    There comes a time when doing what is right, isn't the popular choice.

    Marriage should be a legal union between two consenting adults, regardless of gender.

    A same sex marriage doesn't harm in any way anyone else, nor does it erode the fictitious institution of marriage. If you object to same sex marriage, then don't do it. But don't force your religous views onto others, and stop discriminating against gays/lesbians (married couples gain tons of benefits not available to those in civil unions).

    It is only a matter of time before same sex marriages become legal, everywhere... get used to it.

    May 5, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Bill

    Though, in this case, the mandate of the people is the tyranny of the majority.

    May 5, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Brad in DC

    The poll is a national poll. The DC city council is following the mandate of the people they represent.

    May 5, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Pete

    Constitution protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority

    May 5, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Paul

    wrong, Bill. When the US Supreme Court overturned laws forbidding interracial marriage, 70% of the country was in favor of those laws. Segregation laws were the "will of the people". Waiting around for the "will of the people" to change is not always the right thing to do. Equal protection for all is the right thing to do.

    May 5, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. Robert

    I think this is great. Same sex marriage should be allowed. People who are against this just need to know this is the most rediculous fight to have. Why should anyone care who anyone wants to marry? All anyone should care about is age and consent. I'm serious. I don't care about same sex marriage or multi-partner marriages. AGE AND CONSENT!!!! That's it. Get over youselves people. There's more important issues in the world than this.

    May 5, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Michael Mace

    Equality for all! I am so sick and tired of people who oppose gaymarriage and say i cant get married because the bible says this or the bible says that. First of all, the bible is really old and says a lot of things such as you cant eat shellfish or talking back to your parents is punishable by death. So I take the bible for what it is a philosophical document, and jesus was just a philosopher. Second of all there is separation of church and state in this country established by the founding fathers which is violated everytime a law is passed banning gay marriage because the bible says its wrong. It disgusts me and makes me not so proud of my country. Third of all I pay the same taxes as everyone else and I believe that I should recieve the same benefits of being a citizen.

    May 5, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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