[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/03/art.bennett.0203.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Robert Bennett introduced legislation Tuesday that would stop same-sex marriages in Washington, D.C. from becoming legal."]Washington (CNN) – The District of Columbia's representative in Congress is criticizing a new effort led by a Utah senator to ban same sex couples from legally marrying in the nation's capital.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia, said Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, and eight of his Republican colleagues are "Disregarding the most basic of American self-government principles" by "trying to overturn same-sex marriage legislation in the District of Columbia.
"Marriage is a fundamental state's right in the District as elsewhere in America, not a political football to be used or abused to score points back home at the expense of the people of the District, and of democratic principles," Norton added.
Bennett introduced his legislation Tuesday that would stop same-sex marriages from becoming legal in the city without a referendum or vote by citizens of the District. Republican Sens. Sam Brownback of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Orrin Hatch of Utah, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Pat Roberts of Kansas, David Vitter of Louisiana and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, cosponsored Bennett's bill.
"The definition of marriage affects every person, and should be debated openly, lawfully, and democratically," Bennett said in a statement.
In December 2009, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009," legislation that would allow same-sex marriages, after a period of Congressional review.
Last month, GOP Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and Jim Jordan of Ohio, introduced a resolution of disapproval in the House, objecting to the actions of the District of Columbia Council.
By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws approved by the council.