Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-04-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



D.C. marriage bill heads to Congress
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Although it was long-expected, the D.C. Council's vote Dec. 15 to give final approval to a marriage-equality law for Washington, D.C., came as a large relief to many LGBT civil rights supporters.

The 11-2 vote came on the heels to two recent, stinging losses—the New York Senate rejection of a marriage equality bill there, and the Nov. 3 ballot loss in Maine of a measure approved by the legislature earlier in the year.

The chamber erupted with applause and cheers as the vote was announced.

However, the Dec. 15 vote is not the final hurdle for marriage equality in Washington, D.C. While Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the bill Dec. 18, the District of Columbia is a federal territory and, therefore, Congress has authority over its laws. Congress has 30 in-session days to take action to overturn the measure. And, according to the Washington Post, Robert Kabel, the openly gay chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, is trying to convince Republicans in Congress not to attack the new D.C. marriage law.

Also working in the bill's favor is the 30-day clock running down during a time when the Senate is fiercely occupied with health care reform, and that both the Senate and the House would have to vote to overturn the measure.

Those odds are apparently not stopping a group of clergy who oppose the bill. They vow to continue their opposition both in Congress and in the courts. With the help of the Alliance Defense Fund, a right-wing legal group that has filed many challenges against equal rights for gays, the clergymen are still pressing forward with an effort to put the issue before voters in the District.

But if there was any surprise with the Dec. 15 vote, it was from the tenor of discussion in the council chambers. One month earlier, the Council had entertained two public hearings at which hundreds of District residents gave testimony—much of it marked with harsh and hostile words about LGBT people and gay marriage.

That rancor was gone during the final vote.

Before casting his vote in favor of the legislation, which he sponsored, openly gay Councilman David Catania thanked the council leadership for its help. In addition, he acknowledged the longtime support of the LGBT community of the two councilmembers who voted against the bill. Catania singled out Councilmember Marion Barry in particular, noting that, although Barry was voting against the marriage-equality bill, he had a long record of supporting the LGBT community that should not be forgotten.

Barry seemed genuinely touched by Catania's remarks, and his response seemed to change the tenor of the political fight over the contentious issue. Barry recalled that, 38 years ago, when he was president of the D.C. school board, the superintendent of schools wanted to fire a gay teacher.

"I said, 'No way'," recalled Barry. Barry also acknowledged that he had sided with the LGBT community in the 1970s when few politicians would and that the LGBT community had been a large part of his first election as mayor in 1979.

"I stood up when it wasn't popular," said Barry, "…and it bothers me when I am castigated for my dissent" on the marriage-equality issue.

"I'm not voting no against the GLBT community," said Barry. "I'm voting No against this particular action."

"I still stand with this community," he added. "After this vote is over, I'm going to still stand with this community."

The bill's other opponent, Yvette Alexander, said she, too, was appreciative of the LGBT community's respect and support despite her decision to vote against the measure.

Council judiciary committee chairman Phil Mendelson said the vote marks the "final step in this long march" toward equality. He noted that, while four states—Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont—approved marriage-equality laws in just over a year, the District first approved domestic-partnership benefits in 1992. Others, including openly gay Councilmember Jim Graham, noted that sodomy was still illegal in the district just 20 years ago.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued a statement following the vote, saying "Today's vote is a victory for all D.C. residents, whose relationships will soon be treated equally and fairly in the eyes of the law."

©2009 Keen News Service

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


CELEBRATIONS DeShawn-Powell, Pagels-Minor 2017-04-05
Hotel to host diverse wedding event April 9 2017-04-05
World news: Gay-panic defense, being 'Bi+,' Taiwan marriage case 2017-03-28
Federal court: Florida death certificates must reflect same-sex relationships 2017-03-23
World news: OutGames, Cuban award, gay Brazilian mayor marries 2017-03-14
Beverly Wedding Expo to take place March 19 2017-03-08
Beverly Arts Center to host first Beverly Wedding Expo 2017-02-27
World news: French elections, Church of England, Bollywood actor 2017-02-21
A Love Supreme, an inclusive celebration of marriage, April 9 2017-02-07
A Love Supreme wedding celebration April 9 2017-01-19
Judge: Secular celebrants can officiate marriages 2017-01-18
District Judge Rules Secular Celebrants Can Solemnize Marriages in Illinois 2017-01-04
CELEBRATIONS Hoagland-Leighton marriage 2017-01-04
National roundup: Cherokees OK marriage, Pittsburgh says no, HB2 2016-12-20
Gay marriage proposal at Chicago Bulls game, and he said, Yes! 2016-12-20
Study looks at marriage equality and the election 2016-12-14
No bones about love: A surprise engagement 2016-12-07
Class settlement proposed on health benefits for Walmart same-sex spouses 2016-12-01
Rev. Greg Dell remembered 2016-11-20
Taiwan set to legalize same-sex marriage 2016-11-10
Community remembers LGBTQ ally Rev. Gregory Dell 2016-11-03
World news: Alan Turing, Indonesian president, Australia and marriage 2016-10-25
Relationships & the Law Today 2016-10-19
Obergefell recalls marriage-equality fight 2016-10-19
Marriage plaintiff Windsor remarries 2016-10-05
WEDDINGS Rody-Sollors 2016-10-05
World: Nuns' civil union, Israelis hosting soldiers, medical news 2016-10-04
Obergefell, plaintiff in supreme court marriage equality case, here on Coming Out Day 2016-10-04
World news: Mexico and marriage, N. Ireland petition, Oscar Wilde 2016-09-27
LGBT ministry thanks Kaine for hopeful words on Catholic church, same-sex marriage 2016-09-12
Illinois high court asked to rehear bar on claims by unmarried partners 2016-09-08
County Clerk issues 10,000th same-sex marriage license 2016-08-31
World news: Couple father triplets, Australian vote, John Kerry 2016-08-30
Local activist chronicles history of marriage equality in new book 2016-08-30
Orr, marriage backers anticipate 10,000 same-sex licenses 2016-08-29
Cook County within reach of 10,000 same-sex marriages 2016-08-25
Guest column: Planning a wedding 2016-08-24
Lesbian palimony decision calls on common-law marriage rules 2016-08-22
National: More trans deaths, Biden's same-sex marriage, $1M donation to Hillary 2016-08-02
World: Romanian court, Israeli officials, rapper/actor Common, Apple's move 2016-08-02

Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.









About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.