December 18th, 2009
09:04 AM ET
10 months ago

DC Mayor to sign same sex marriage bill

DC Mayor Adrien Fenty is expected to sign a measure that would recognize gay marriages as legal.
DC Mayor Adrien Fenty is expected to sign a measure that would recognize gay marriages as legal.

Washington (CNN) - The nation's capital city is expected to take a major step Friday towards legalizing same-sex marriage.

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty is scheduled to sign a measure that would recognize gay marriages as legal. The city council overwhelming passed the bill on Tuesday, following a similar vote on December 1.

According to Fenty's schedule, posted online, the mayor will perform the signing at All Souls Church, a Unitarian house of worship in the northwest part of the District that is known for its diversity and for the welcoming of same-sex couples.

Following the mayor's signing of the legislation, the measure goes to Congress for a 30-day review period, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill will block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District's city council.
If the measure becomes law, the District would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in allowing legal same-sex marriages. A law legalizing gay marriage 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 applauded the passage of the legislation, calling it a "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 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

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


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soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter. I'm no expert but...

    Ancient folklore mixed with medieval superstition is not a rational basis for social policy. You want a religious government? Move to Iran. You'll fit right in. Have a nice day!

    December 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Independent in NC

    I did not get married in a church or any place of worship, and no religious figure was mentioned in the ceremony. Is my marriage to my husband any less valid? No, because we are discussing the legality of marriage, not spirituality. It doesn't matter if you get married in a church, your marriage is not valid without completing the legal paperwork.

    Why deny homosexual people the same legal right? If you want to keep them out of your places of worship, feel free. If you think it is spiritually wrong, so be it. Worry about your own soul, and follow that whole "that shalt not judge" thing. This is an issue of the rights of citizen of the United States, and last time I checked, that covered people of all different races, religions, or creeds.

    Or, we can just scrap the word marriage entirely and have all couples, heterosexual and homosexual, be recognized legally as a civil union. You can keep marriage as a religious term if it means so much, imho.

    December 18, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Sara

    I would just like to say is that I AM TRUELY HAPPY THAT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO AS OTHER DO. God created them, and those that follow the lord are the ones judging. They are the ones that have their priorities mixed up.

    LETS KEEP IT GAY!

    December 18, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Luke

    I hope everyone calling on God to 'fix' things is sadly, and sometimes dangerously, mistaken. This is, very literally, going to be another blackmark in American history. It is just as bad as the prejudice toward African Americans, Asians during WWII, and basically every other non white, non Christian person wronged by the majority since we committed genocide 'winning the West'. What is really filth, is not homosexuality (which has only in contemporary American History become taboo by the way) but the close mindedness of the public on issue of which they have no understanding. It really disgusts me to think that people I call countrymen can be so simple and hateful. Just like the policemen that are on camera beating African Americans in the 60s, your grandchildren are going to be ashamed of you. And your children probably already are. And if youre young and that prejudice, you are holding the Progression of this (potentially) great country back. WAKE UP!

    December 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Democrat in MD (CNN please post. Thank you!)

    Finally! I wish that Maryland had the guts to do the same!

    December 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Carl

    It's really about time. I'm still upset with California and Maine that the voters are ignorant enough to think legalizing gay marriage does anything to jeopardize the sanctity of marriage. If you want to have your marriage sacred then don't get divorce, don't bring violence into the home, do your part and let others be happy.

    After all, we don't only allow certain people to vote, why deny them the right to vote if we are all created equal?

    December 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Dave, the Truthteller

    News Flash: Massachuttes to allow marriage of donkeys and humans. More blue states to follow suit. We live in a sick world...

    December 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. DALE

    For being such an issue before God, Jesus was curiously silent on gays. Although He was pretty straight forward when He said "That which you do to the least of my breatheren you do unto Me." The way I see it, all these folks that spew hate, descrimination and judgement upon their brothers and sister in the name of Jesus have far more worry about ever seeing the Kingdom then a person that's just gay. The other day the conservative darling Palin said "I have no mercy for the bad guys" I wonder what Juses says about that, for those are the exact folks Jesus commands that we show love and mercy to. Maybe one day we'll get it...

    December 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. DARRYL WEATHERSPOON

    The constitution of the united states tells us that we have the right to life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness and what better life and what better peace can someone have than to have the freedom to marry the person they are in love with. IT IS A CIVIL RIGHT GIVEN TO US BECAUSE WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS.

    December 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. ejamd

    Those who have the chutzpah to proclaim that they know what God does, wants or feels, are welcome to their opinions in the privacy of their homes or in churches they choose to attend, but they do not have the right to impose their opinions on others. I am always struck by the venom and volume of those who try to impose their own views in the name of their own flavor of God, thinking that should be the law for the rest of us.

    This kind of hateful, holier-than-thou behavior has harmed humanity for generations, and it's time for us a a species to move beyond the hate, before it's too late. Fundamentalism in any flavor and in any religion is harmful to all. If you like living that way, there are plenty of backward facing fundamentalist regime-led countries you can move to. This does not belong in the USA.

    I am straight and married. AND, I don't think it is my right to tell anyone else whom they can and can't marry. I don't have a hotline to God, and neither do those who scream the loudest about this or any other issue. But we can – and must – act in a moral way – with our without God in the equation.

    Let's make civil marriage (with all its privileges and responsibilities) available nationwide to any couple who wants to make that commitment – straight or gay. Gay couples deserve legal protections and should honor legal responsibilities just like straight couples. Anyone who wants their union blessed in any religious manner should be able to approach their clergy of choice. Denominations or clergy who don't want to bless any union can be free to make their own decisions. It's called separation of church and state. We can enable clergy to affirm the legal part if they want, for efficiency's sake. No one would be forced to do anything against their own religious or ideological persuasion.

    What's so tough about being fair?

    And if you think straight marriage is so superior, then why is the divorce rate 50% and we have an endless stream of Tiger Woods, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton (note – I am not making any political statement here), etc., and so forth.

    Finally, if you feel you really know what God wants, I can recommend a good doctor to treat your delusions.

    December 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Mike

    I have no reiligious argument to make, but simple biological logic confirms, this is abnormal behavior. One would think these liberals could see this. It is a fact however, that the term "commonsence liberal" is a contradiction in terms.

    December 18, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. McFly

    Hey "Illinois 2" ... worry about your OWN sins, NOT someone elses!

    December 18, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. capmorgs

    Make gay marriage legal & but no kids because that will be who will suffer. Not like that could ever be inforced

    December 18, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. joe

    Please all answer this. Is sodomy against the law??? If the answer is no, then all of you know absolutely nothing. For all you bashing Christians, 1) Christ blessed marraiges by his miracle at Cana at the marriage of a man and a woman, 2) Christians do not hate Gays. They hate the sin not the sinner. With all of you saying that this will be instituted and law countrywide, then we will become the Roman Empire and you all know what happened there. Obama has already made us a second class power and ;you want what you want. That will be the end of America. Nikita Krushev once said 'we do not need to defeat the U S militarily, like a fruit, it will rot from the outside and fall on its own" A prophecy on its way to fulfillment.

    December 18, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. The Other Michael in Houston

    I am just baffled by you Jesus freaks and holy rollers on here. First off, marriage is man made, not created by God. And how sacred is marriage if the percentage marriages that will end in divorce is 3 times as high as those marriage's that will end for other reasons combined. And furthermore, what is it to you if someone decides to have a same sex marriage, what are you going to lose money, die from someone else's marriage etc.....NO! Worry about you own relationship, or go get your own business and stay out of others. You know you bible thumpers sure love to control other people's lives but hate it when someone's tries to controls yours. Take your ignorant selves and your stupid religion and please leave my planet. Good Job D.C . for making a choice to stop oppressing people and letting people live their lives the way they choose to.

    Independents unite and vote these so called Congressman and Senators on both sides out of office in 2010. I am sick of you Communist Stalin Democrats and Facist Hitler Republicans.

    December 18, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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