December 18th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
10 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. Tina

    Sodom and Gomorrah - The start of the end of times. Hunger, wars, devalue of human life, corruptions, cheating, lies, abortion.
    God is love, but He is pure and just. Read the book of Judges - it will put fear in your hearts and soul of why it is important to obey His commands.

    December 18, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Robert

    Praise the lord! ! Another corner of the country has seen the light and is granting all its citizens full and equal civil rights.

    Polls show opinions on same-sex marriage shift largely along generational lines (younger people tend to support same-sex marriage, older people don't), so we might have to wait for all the old homophobes to die, but same-sex marriage WILL ultimately be recognized nationwide! Then everyone will realize what we already know in Massachusetts: the sky won't fall, nobody's hetero marriage will be "threatened," and everyone will wonder what the big deal was.

    December 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Jake

    Good Job! Equality for all will happen in time.

    December 18, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Robert

    God bless him, and the council too.

    Thank you for NOT letting this issue be voted upon by the citizens of DC. They do not have the right. Nobody in this country has the right to have a say in whether other Americans are treated fairly and equally. That is a constitutional guarantee.

    The right we have share to equal treatment is not contingent upon whether a majority of people agree with it or not..

    Kudos to DC

    December 18, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. Weenie Brown

    Now they done it. The next thing is that women and minorities will want equal rights, too.

    December 18, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Tel

    ""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."

    Does this mean the NOM supports DC statehood...?

    December 18, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Willy Brown

    Will never get rid of Barney Frank now.

    December 18, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. RH

    "Same-sex marriage" is an absolute contradiction in terms. There is not nor can there ever be such a thing regardless of any government action. Congress could pass a bill tomorrow that asserts that house cats are in fact lions, and house cats may rejoice, but that wouldn't make it so.

    December 18, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    DC may be a small place, but at least it is on its way to being in line with the Constitution. Hopefully other states will put their prejudices behind them and stop discriminating against these people. After all, God love for all people is unqualified and we should remember that when we make our laws.

    December 18, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Leanne, CA

    Congress should not have the right to "review and overturn laws created by the District of Columbia's council". The citizens of the District of Columbia are free just like anyone else. What right does Congress have to overturn their laws. This would not happen in any state in the country and they know it. That's why the District should have states rights. Period.

    December 18, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. K (DC)

    No one expected anything different from the Mayor because as quiet as it is kept he likes both world what one would call down kinda low however, the fat lady haven't sung yet for the misguided few who feel they have the right to make a decision far thr majority.

    December 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. dale

    Excellent. Another liberal not listenting to the majority.
    Another lib bites the dust in political suicide

    December 18, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Christian and Proud

    To my fellow Christians:

    Do not fret over this event. Do not slander nor bring harm to those who participate in or support this life style. Remember that your battle is not with flesh and blood but with spiritual things. God did not make man to be gay. Where is my support for this you say? The Bible is my answer. Every person chooses the words in which they will believe. At the end of the day it is all about faith. My faith is in the word of GOD. The Bible tells me to “cling to what is good and hate what is evil”. So I do not practice hate towards any homosexual person, I pray for them as I hope they will pray for me to overcome my sins. But, in order to overcome a sin you have to admit that your are sinning.

    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. This battle is about forced acceptance. Homosexuals want to force the world to except their way of life. Legislation, boycotts, and political bullying may work on earth, but we will all have to answer to GOD one day whether you believe in him or not.

    One last point, this post is not fearmongering it is faith based. The Bible teaches that GOD did not give us the spirit of fear. It teaches that HE gave us the spirits of love, and power, and a sound mind. So it is in love that I say “repent” in spite of many negative responses I am certain my post will illicit.

    GOD Bless.

    December 18, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. dale

    Wrong. What you have done says that you don't respect majorities "peoples" rights so you over run them. Political suicide

    December 18, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Jake

    A major, major victory today for EQUALITY FOR ALL!

    just amazing! happy holidays!

    December 18, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Sorry, But Your Bible Is Fiction

    Anyone who would deny ANY American citizen the rights afforded ALL American citizens by the Constitution of the United States should be made to leave this country and go live in a country which is ruled by religion . . . . like Iran!

    December 18, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. C from middle GA

    Congratulations to DC and their step forward into reality AND civil rights for everyone. Too bad GA isn't going to come into this century any time soon.

    December 18, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Brian416

    Mr. Brown's quote is complete nonsense to me. As an out gay male, the fact that gay marriage has been put on the ballot in 30some odd states is nothing less than degrading. What makes my relationships of lesser quality, or importance, or validiy? I have never once had to vote on straight couples to marry- and maybe the divorce rate in this country wouldn't be as asronomical as it is if we voted on straight marriage. In every other country where gay marriage is legal, guess how many times it was put up for a public vote- rum roll... ZERO! People like Mr. Brown are entitled to their opinions, they are entitled to their closed-mindedness, and they're certainly entitled to detract. But they all, including Mr. Brown, know full well that their lives will not change, their kids' textbooks won't change simply because gay and lesbian people deserve the same rights as everyone else.

    December 18, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Obama says "NO gay marriage"............

    you voted for him.....now follow his lead....NO GAY MARRIAGE.......

    December 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Jane/Seattle

    All well and good. I just wish these government folks would fix the laws that enable sexual and other predators to keep killing our Children! I also want Capitalism to face the Reality and take an honest look at it's bottom line Predatory Nature! This is the true Cause of Our Major Issues and the Results are Everywhere! Just some Honesty would help us to stop this Denial that our Choices don't help us to Stop killing while Exploiting Everything that lives and dies on this Planet! Oh, and by the Way, this system creates the problems everyone laments. Our Solution IS To Change OUR Collective Minds! Thanks for Considering these ideas and Peace On Earth is Possible if we will just do it! J :o

    December 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. Ryan

    Now let's see how many marriages end because of the "gay threat"...

    waiting... waiting... wait... what? Nobody is affected!? Crap, now what platform will the crazy Right Wing Nut jobs use as an excuse??

    December 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Christian Values

    What scares the right wing freaks the most is the idea of Gay Marriages having a better (lower) divorce rate then their own.

    Only when you OUTLAW divorce can you outlaw other things that God does not approve of. Jesus is MY savior, He doesn't expect me to force Him upon OTHERS. Nor does he expect us to run our country based on HIS beliefs. He expects US to have the strength to do it for ourselves and not be such weak little wuss's that those who do differently to influence us. Only weak little rejects haven't the strength to follow their own beleifs with out THRUSTING THEM retardedly upon others.

    December 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. heiscoming

    Interesting how the Gay movement has chosen a rainbow as their symbol, considering it was God's symbol after flooding the Earth because of this type of sin.

    December 18, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Jake

    Tina, it must be terrible living in fear all of the time. Take your hokus pokus and mind your own.

    December 18, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Vets4Obama

    I keep seeing that this is against the majority. Agreed, by a slight margin and shrinking at that. However, that's not the point. The abolition of slavery was against popular thought at the time. I guess these morons saying that it's against the majority are in favor of reversing ALL civil rights decisions in HISTORY.

    One of the primary goals of the constitution, and especially the bill of rights, is to protect the minority from an immoral majority. You can hate it all you like, but it's fact. So stop with the retarded "Majority' crap. It's a butt load of idiots that use that pathetic and moronic excuse.

    December 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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