December 18th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
6 months ago

D.C. mayor signs same-sex marriage bill

The nation's capital city took a major step Friday toward legalizing same-sex marriage.
The nation's capital city took a major step Friday toward legalizing same-sex marriage.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The nation's capital city took a major step Friday toward legalizing same-sex marriage.

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a measure recognizing such marriages as legal. The city council overwhelming passed the bill on Tuesday, following a similar vote on December 1.

Fenty signed the measure at All Souls Church, a Unitarian-Universalist house of worship in the northwest part of the District that is known for its diversity and for the welcoming of same-sex couples.

The measure now goes to Congress for a 30-day review period, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill would block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District of Columbia's council.

If the measure becomes law, the District would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages. A law legalizing such marriages in New Hampshire takes affect on January 1.


Earlier this year, lawmakers in Maine approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriages, but voters in the state last month passed a referendum to overturn the new law. Last week, New York's state Senate defeated a bill that would legalize gay marriages. A similar bill stalled last week in New Jersey's state senate.

Tuesday's vote in the nation's capital prompted approval from gay rights groups. The Human Rights Campaign called passage of the legislation "a victory for all D.C. residents."

"The legislation the council passed today reinforces the legal equality and religious freedoms to which all D.C. residents are entitled," the organization's president, Joe Solmonese, said in a written statement.

The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, said "the fight is not over."

"Politicians on the city council are acting as if they have the right through legislation to deprive citizens of D.C. of their core civil right to vote, but we will not let them get away with it," said Brian Brown, the organization's executive director.

"We will go to Congress, we will go to the courts, we will fight for the people's right to vote," he said.

Opposition to the legislation also came from the Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Washington, which has said that the measure could restrict the church's ability to provide charity services, apparently because the church might cut back on services rather than comply with requirements.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: Capitol Hill • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. NV

    "Fenty signed the measure at All Souls Church, a Unitarian-Universalist house of worship. . ."

    Uh, were are all the fascist-liberals screaming for seperation of church and state? Guess that's only when the church disagrees with them. Same two-faced leftists we've always known.

    December 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. John D.

    If ever there was a place that deserves to be labeled the land of queers, this place is it.

    December 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Susan L.

    ROTFLMAO!!! It's hilarious to watch these idiotic god-botherers wail and moan and wring their tiny little hands. Oh no! The gay folk are getting married! It's the end of the world!!! ROTFLMAO!!! Comedy gold in here!

    Congrats, DC! Nice to see the District out ahead of the curve.

    December 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Keith

    First, to Leanne in CA, the DISTRICT of Columbia (hence, the DC in Washington DC) was never set up to be a state, but is in fact governed by Congress as...a district. That is why Congress has final say on the city's laws.

    Secondly, to those who comment about how there is a lack of "respect" for the majority feelings....this is what the Constitution is about- providing equality and protection for all citizens, not just the majority. Minorites have just as much right to the freedoms and perks of this nation as the majorities do. And lest we forget, this is not a religious-runned nation. There's a well defined line in the separation of Church and State. You're religious views may sour you towards the sensibilities of others who don't see eye to eye with you, but that does not give you the right to declare them second class citizens.

    I don't recall the Bible saying ANYWHERE that it's ok to divorce, yet more than half of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce. The Bible does, however, allow for polygamy, and even incest. If you followed the word of the Bible to the letter, then men would be beating their wives all the time, sleeping with other women while married, and no woman in this country would work outside of the house. So,please, don't preach about religious views when you decide which words of the Bible you want to throw at homosexuals, and which words you choose to disregard because they might put you in a bad light.

    December 18, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. RH

    The discrimination position is absurd. Gays are not being discriminated against at all. Any gay man in America is perfectly free to marry any woman of his choosing. I'm straight and I can't marry a man either. So where's the legitimate legal argument?

    December 18, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. kgreen

    Wait...if this church approves of gay marriage then isn't it discrimnating against Churches and infringing on people's freedom of religion NOT to allow gays to marry. Someone should file a law suit in placed that disciminate againt this poor Church!

    December 18, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. kgreen

    "This battle for “civil rights” is not that at all. If that were the case then homosexuals would be satisfied with civil unions. It provides all of the same economic benefits as marriage" YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED! THE PREMISE OF YOUR ARGUMENT IS FALSE AND YOU ARE THEREFORE IRRELEVANT!

    December 18, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Peter s

    Please do what ever crap you want but stop using the word same sex Marriage! thats no marriage. You can maximize happiness without infringing the rights of the majority!!

    December 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Eli

    LET ONE WITH OUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.

    Now this is for CHRISTIAN AND PROUD, if we followed the bible fully we would ban interracial marriages, we would stopped all this preachers from making so money and we would all be speaking in tongues at church-- now does Christian and Proud belives all of these things--I DONT THINK SO

    December 18, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Good. Its about time. No one should be treated the way the gay population has been getting treated.

    December 18, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Christian Values

    Here's the fact:

    There are churches out there willing to conduct gay marriages (ironically, mine does not perform them...and I chose it partially due to that reason). And this being a free country, You are free not to attend them. The only thing that stops them is the LAW saying that they can not. This is not about the 'Rights of Citizens"...this is about the "Rites of Churches". I'll be darned if a state Government walks in and starts telling my church we aren't allowed to say certain prayers during our gatherings, as such, I'm against the government DICTATING what the definition of Marriage is. Let the individual churches decide, and we can decide to attend them or not.

    So as much as you morons want to think that YOUR church owns the definition of marriage, it does not. You simply believe what you want to believe, don't like it when people are called married unless your pastor/priest or the guy that just got done with your child says, but don't tell other churchs what THEY can do. It's not your business, not mine, and get over your pathetic fear of being weak little runts that can't stand by your beliefs despite others not kneeling in front of your self rightous rubbish.

    December 18, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Carlos

    After seeing a picture of the mayor I'm not suprised.

    December 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Barbara

    To all the whiners..... Remember the Constitution.... the document you use to accuse your President of being wrong in everything... Health Care... Cap and Trade.. Climate agreements.... etc., You even use the Constitution for your phoney claim against his birth status. Can't use the same argument for for and against.

    December 18, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Moderate Democrat

    kgreen December 18th, 2009 4:07 pm ET

    "This battle for “civil rights” is not that at all. If that were the case then homosexuals would be satisfied with civil unions. It provides all of the same economic benefits as marriage" YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED! THE PREMISE OF YOUR ARGUMENT IS FALSE AND YOU ARE THEREFORE IRRELEVANT!
    ------------------
    Just to inform you, civil union does not grant ALL of the same benefits. Your point has a side, but you aren incorrect in assuming that it grants "ALL' the same benefits. There is actually a great deal of work that the gay community must go further on after their civil union, wills, trusts and the like. Much of their benefits are only obtained via going through ADDITIONAL (on top of common marriages) to gain access to those benefits.

    Look it up, it's true. I don't agree with you, but I can accept you feel the way you do about "Civil Unions" being enough. And it would even be a better argument if it was true, that ALL OF THE SAME BENEFITS as marriage are AUTOMATICALLY granted to Civil Unions, with no further paper work necessary.

    December 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. GayGuyNC

    "The discrimination position is absurd. Gays are not being discriminated against at all. Any gay man in America is perfectly free to marry any woman of his choosing. I'm straight and I can't marry a man either. So where's the legitimate legal argument?"

    RH. I would like to exercise that right. May I please have the hand of your daughter in marriage. I can't? What's the problem? I don't know her or love her? Wait. That didn't matter in the bible so it shouldn't be a problem here. I have a great job with a great salary and could provide for her every want or need.

    RH, your argument is weak. The discrimination is in not being able to marry the one person we love, regardless of that person's gender.

    Do you really want gay men marrying straight women? Do you really want lesbians marrying straight men?

    If you allow us to marry each other, we won't feel the need to marry heterosexuals and inevitably ruin their lives.

    December 18, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. tarheel

    Of course this bill passed. The city council and the mayor are all Democrats except for one and everybody knows that most Democratic politicians would vote for marriage between a man and a sheep if it meant they would vote Democratic. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the Fringe element is becoming the majority.

    December 18, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. NP in Mpls

    @Tina....

    There has always been those things. Keep your opinions to yourself.

    December 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. .

    @ christian and proud

    "The Bible teaches that GOD did not give us the spirit of fear."
    Then how come the book says you should love and "fear" him above all else?

    December 18, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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