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And now, D.C.:

It's turning out to be a banner day for gay marriage. The city council in Washington, D.C. has just voted 12-0 to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. The city previously recognized domestic partnerships, but the status of out-of-state SSMs had been unclear.

There's no doubt where this is headed. According to the Washington Post:

Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), who is also gay, predicted it was only a matter of time before the Council also takes up a bill to legalize gay marriage in the District. "It's no secret that I have been working on legislation that would take us further," he said. "This is the march toward human rights and equality. This is not the march toward special rights. This is the equal march and that march is coming here."

There are a couple of important things to keep in mind, however. First, D.C. council law is subject to override by Congress, which could place the Democrats in an awkward position. Second, recognition of gay marriages in D.C. would be subject to a ballot override.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. And now, D.C.:
  2. Gay marriage in D.C. next year?
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
The beauty of the federal system is that states have the freedom to experiment. If the people of Vermont (and note I said the people, not the judges) want to legalize gay marriage - or polygamous marriage or polyandrous marriage or any other form of sexual relationship - well, let them, just don't force my state to recognize those relationships. In a generation or two we can look at Vermont and see how it's all worked out, and if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects, maybe the people of my state will choose to do the same thing. Or not.
4.7.2009 1:41pm
SFJD (www):
Ummm you live in Connecticut right? You might want to open the curtains.
4.7.2009 1:47pm
Hannibal Lector:
Based on the racial/religious makeup of the District, I have little doubt that a ballot override is in the offing and will succeed, thus sparing Democrats in Congress a very embarassing moment in the sun that would probably end with the same practical effect.
4.7.2009 1:52pm
My Middle Name Is Ralph:

First, D.C. council law is subject to override by Congress, which could place the Democrats in an awkward position.


Let's see who really believes in federalism and who just pays lip service to it.
4.7.2009 1:59pm
Houston Lawyer:
What Hannibal Lector said.

This surely doesn't represent the attitudes of actual voters in DC.
4.7.2009 2:04pm
Oren:

The beauty of the federal system is that states have the freedom to experiment.

On the other hand, the framers knew damn well that States refusing to accept the official business of other States was a huge hamper on both interstate commerce and the orderly administration of justice in general. Hence the full faith and credit clause.

Of course, the FF&C clause is basically dead in the water (I've been accosted multiple times trying to buy beer in MA with an IL license -- apparently full faith and credit doesn't apply to basic documents of identity).
4.7.2009 2:08pm
EdTheRed (mail):
@Houston Lawyer:
Well, as an actual voter in DC, it represents my attitude. Also, like most local politicians, the DC Council has a pretty good feel for how their constituents feel about the big issues, so a 12-0 vote should give you some idea how a ballot initiative would play out.

And for all the political clout that various congregations have in DC, much of their membership has long since moved to the suburbs, and are not actually eligible to vote in DC (of course, they have actual congressmen to complain to, who can piss all over DC if they choose, but the suburban DC congressional delegation is generally pretty deferential to the District).
4.7.2009 2:13pm
Connecticut Lawyer (mail):
The Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require states to recognize the legal acts of other states that are repugnant to the public policy of the first state. I guess your Illinois drivers license was repugnant to Massachusetts.

SFJD - The Supreme Court of Conn. issued its opinion, but the voters have not yet spoken. We'll see. In any event, my point is that allowing states to experiment over long periods of time with radical social programs is fine, so long as they can't force other states to go along with thenm.
4.7.2009 2:49pm
BGates:
My first thought was to agree with Hannibal Lector (never thought I'd say that), but while politicians are ignorant of many things, they generally know what's important to their constituents. Since I don't see opportunities for increased graft, patronage, or control over people's lives in this vote, I'd expect it was supposed to reflect the wishes of the people in the area.

If I'm wrong, and the Council is wrong, then I'd expect to see a ballot initiative pass by about 90-10, followed by the people who were so exercised about Prop 8 searching out the 2 or 3 white Republicans in DC to picket.
4.7.2009 3:05pm
Down from the Ivory Tower:

In a generation or two we can look at Vermont and see how it's all worked out, and if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects, maybe the people of my state will choose to do the same thing.

A generation or two? Haha, that's a good one. What rock do you live under? Can you not see that we are already on the cusp of the tipping point on gay marriage? It will be the law of the land, from Montgomery to Helena to Provo to Charleston, within 5 years. Get used to it.
4.7.2009 3:25pm
torrentprime (mail):
Connecticut Lawyer: "In a generation or two we can look at Vermont and see how it's all worked out, and if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects..."
And this one post proves exactly how far gay rights advocates have to go with some people. What on earth does marriage equality have to do with sex? Did freeing the slaves or letting women vote mean that we were advocating more sex?
You know what? Never mind. I don't actually want to know what went through your brain. I always shudder at how gay rights makes some people thing directly about gay sex.
4.7.2009 3:30pm
Ha:

SFJD - The Supreme Court of Conn. issued its opinion, but the voters have not yet spoken.

Well, the question of a Constitutional Convention was on the ballot this past November, and the voters roundly rejected it. Aside from that, how exactly do you foresee things changing? I'm not aware of any process to move forward with a CT constitutional amendment to overturn the state supreme court decision, and I don't think even the Republican governor supports such an amendment.
In a generation or two we can look at Vermont and see how it's all worked out, and if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects, maybe the people of my state will choose to do the same thing. Or not.

A generation or two? Ha. Nate Silver projects that even Mississippi will be on board with equality by 2024. You wish this would take generations.
4.7.2009 3:31pm
DiversityHire:
"to recognize gay marriages performed in other states."

D.C. is a state?
4.7.2009 3:34pm
CJColucci:
Does anyone know what D.C. judicial practice has been on recognition of marriages performed in other states? Most courts in most states recognize marriages validly entered into in other states, even if such marriages would not be legal in their own states, because of, for example, the age or consanguinity of the partners. (Sometimes not, if residents of State A, who couldn't marry in State A, go to State B to get married and come right back to State A.) This is not a matter of full faith and credit, but of comity, and is subject to the exception that State A need not recognize a marriage valid in State B that violates some deeply-held public policy of State A. (Some southern states, for example, used to refuse to recognize inter-racial marriages validly performed elsewhere.) Most states will recognize a marriage validly performed in another state that permits people to marry a few years younger than the recognizing state -- though I wonder how most states would react if some state allowed 12-year-olds to marry. New York does not permit same-sex marriage, but it recognizes such marriages validly performed elsewhere. What is the general attitude of the D.C. courts, and does the City Council's action make that much of a difference?
4.7.2009 4:17pm
Hans Bader:
Washington, D.C. would make more money off of tourism if it went beyond recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere and allowed gay marriages to be performed in D.C. itself.

That would result in people traveling to Washington, D.C. to get married, rather than leaving it to get married and then returning to take advantage of it recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere.
4.7.2009 4:25pm
ChrisatOffice (mail):
A banner day, indeed!
4.7.2009 4:40pm
SeaDrive:

The reaction of the CT legislature was to accept the ruling of the CT Supreme Court, and get on with business.

http://tinyurl.com/ccuxeu

I agree with the comments that acceptance will come quickly with time. People without married gay friends, acquaintances or family members won't notice a thing. Those that do will be happy for them.
4.7.2009 5:04pm
marksleen (mail):
Does DOMA apply to DC?
4.7.2009 5:06pm
white republican in DC (mail):
marksleen--yes, DOMA does apply to DC.

28 U.S.C. 1738C says:

"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."

DC falls under the "territory or possession of the U.S." The other effects of DOMA relate to the treatment of same-sex marriages under federal law, so it applies to DC residents just at it applies to residents of the 50 states.
4.7.2009 5:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
David Catania is gay and has a well established record with the black population in DC,. During the Marion Barry years, he alone on the Council, raked over the coals the agency heads who did nothing for their pay and let city services slide. His crony-bashing was often on tv,and the african-american women loved watching him and tongue lashing the incompetents.

David would investigate city services himself. One time, he got a report from the DC General Hospital that said that average waiting time in the emergeny room was 20 minutes. So he went to the emergency room of DC General Hospital and asked people how long they were waiting for a doctor to look at them, and found that most of them had been waiting hours. He really let them have it.

David would not introduce such a bill unless he knew there was strong support for it, both on the council and in the city. He doesn't like to play to lose, so I believe that he is confident such a bill will survive a ballot initiative.

Wouldn't that be great -- a DC wide ballot iniative that actually *supports* SSM? What will the anti-gay crowd argue if that comes to pass?
4.7.2009 6:10pm
BABH:
For one thing, a successful DC initiative might help us get past the canard that "black people were responsible for passing Prop 8".

The blame lies with two groups: well-funded and well-organized proponents, and well-funded but feckless opponents.
4.7.2009 6:37pm
Paul Russell (mail):
I think it's great! Now California has a place to ship these bio-genitic missfires.
4.7.2009 6:44pm
Randy R. (mail):
Amen, bro. Our side did a lousy job on Prop 8. Any child could have gotten us to defeat it. We have no one to blame but the self appointed leaders on that one.
4.7.2009 6:45pm
bakum (mail):
"if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects"

As a married straight guy who lives in the SF Bay Area and knows a lot of gay people, let me be the first to tell everyone who doesn't now know gay people that IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHICH CONSENTING ADULTS A CONSENTING ADULT CHOOSES TO HAVE SEX WITH. Men, women, both alone or in pairs or more, it literally affects my life in NO WAY WHATSOEVER. Literally. I enjoy the full range of freedoms, rights and privileges that I always did when two guys next door have sex with each other. If the concept bothers you that is entirely your problem to deal with, just like it would be your problem to deal with if they played music you don't like. If they play it too loud and it disturbs your slumber, that's an issue separate from the kind of music it is.

So when you say something like "the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation" you are being redundant. You can take the word "sexual" completely out of the equation, and thus understand that when you seek to restrict the relationships and sexuality of two (or more) consenting adults, all you are doing is restricting freedom. You are not protecting or defending anything.
4.7.2009 8:04pm
bakum (mail):
"if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects"

As a married straight guy who lives in the SF Bay Area and knows a lot of gay people, let me be the first to tell everyone who doesn't now know gay people that IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHICH CONSENTING ADULTS A CONSENTING ADULT CHOOSES TO HAVE SEX WITH. Men, women, both alone or in pairs or more, it literally affects my life in NO WAY WHATSOEVER. Literally. I enjoy the full range of freedoms, rights and privileges that I always did when two guys next door have sex with each other. If the concept bothers you that is entirely your problem to deal with, just like it would be your problem to deal with if they played music you don't like. If they play it too loud and it disturbs your slumber, that's an issue separate from the kind of music it is.

So when you say something like "the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation" you are being redundant. You can take the word "sexual" completely out of the equation, and thus understand that when you seek to restrict the relationships and sexuality of two (or more) consenting adults, all you are doing is restricting freedom. You are not protecting or defending anything.
4.7.2009 8:04pm
Nicholas the Fag (mail):
"if the advocates of sexual freedom and liberation are right and there are no ill effects"

Pretty sure sodomy laws are no longer considered constitutional. Are those the sexual freedom and liberation rights you're talking about because I'm pretty sure the rest of us are talking about tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, rights to make funerary decisions, and all those other good things that come with federal marriage. Did the removal of sodomy laws negatively effect you somehow? Your sex grosses me out just as much as mine grosses you out, but I think if we stay out of one another's bedrooms, we'll all be fine.

If my private, gay, butt sex has no, effect on your life, or at least no more or less effect than all the heterosexual couples who also perform private, butt sex, then I'm pretty sure you won't notice anything negative when I'm allowed to have the same advantages as other young, childless married couples.

Sorry if that was graphic for anyone, but I find a bunch of heterosexuals across the nation half-heartedly discussing whether or not my rights should be sacrificed to be even more graphic.

You know what I think? I think that left-handed people are an abomination. Let's--and I mean us unquestionably superior right-handers--discuss the merits of left-handers marriage rights. Maybe in a couple of generations we'll figure out whether or not they're legitimate citizens also.
4.7.2009 10:10pm
marksleen (mail):
I meant does DOMA preclude DC from recognizing same sex maariages? Does DC count as an agency? Seems like that might be a stretch. Don't know how DC is set up, though.
4.7.2009 10:10pm
Nicholas the Fag (mail):
I screwed the punctuation up. woops.
4.7.2009 10:11pm
Randy R. (mail):
That's okay, Nicholas. I'm sure you are much better at flower arrangements.

Don't worry about all that talk about butt sex! We have to listen to straight talk about the joys of "natural" sex all the time.

(Um, whatcha doin' Saturday night?)
4.7.2009 10:25pm
Cornellian (mail):

This surely doesn't represent the attitudes of actual voters in DC.


And now we see the fallback position. When a court rules in favor of same sex marriage, that's not legitimate because a legislature didn't do it. Now that a legislature has done it, that's not legitimate either because the voters didn't approve it.
4.7.2009 10:50pm
ChrisTS (mail):
Nicholas the Fag:
I screwed the punctuation up.


I bet that's not legally recognized in many states.
4.8.2009 12:14am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Cornellian:

Now that a legislature has done it, that's not legitimate either because the voters didn't approve it.


Prediction: When a citizens initiative passes somewhere legalizing same-sex marriage, it won't be legitimate because "It's just plain wrong....."
4.8.2009 12:40am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Nicholas the Fag:

I think that left-handed people are an abomination.


I bet they have horribly sinister motivations too.... How many times on these forums is the word "leftie" thrown around as a way to insult political opponents?

I bet the leftie agenda is even more sinister than the gay agenda!

I say this with full knowledge of the etymology of every word. Sorry for the cross-language puns.


Are those the sexual freedom and liberation rights you're talking about because I'm pretty sure the rest of us are talking about tax breaks, hospital visitation rights, rights to make funerary decisions, and all those other good things that come with federal marriage.


I think that is the key point. So much so, it is worth quoting just for the sake of restating.
4.8.2009 12:47am
Tom G (mail):

Prediction: When a citizens initiative passes somewhere legalizing same-sex marriage, it won't be legitimate because "It's just plain wrong....."



My prediction is that they will simply attack that state as being extremist and out of touch with the rest of the country. For example, if Prop 8 is voted out they will say it doesn't matter because its just "left-coast commie-fornia" and how it wouldn't happen in "real america."
4.8.2009 1:16am
Down from the Ivory Tower:
I get a kick of the "real America" crowd. If the whole country was like Nebraska, Alabama, West Virginia, or Utah, America would be about as consequential in the scheme of things as, say, Slovakia. It is the culture and economy of California, New York, Illinois, etc., which make America what it is in the world.
4.8.2009 2:35am
Grover Gardner (mail):

The beauty of the federal system is that states have the freedom to experiment.


If only DC were a state, they could experiment to their little hearts' desire!
4.8.2009 2:47am
John D (mail):
Nicholas,

My husband and I are in an opposite-handedness marriage. Some people may call them perverse, but we have made it work.
4.8.2009 3:52am
Brett Bellmore:

"but while politicians are ignorant of many things, they generally know what's important to their constituents."


Quite true. Sometimes they don't care, but when they give the voters an upraised finger, they're usually well aware they're doing it. I give the inevitable initiative to reverse this a pretty good chance of passing.
4.8.2009 6:49am
trad and anon (mail):
Quite true. Sometimes they don't care, but when they give the voters an upraised finger, they're usually well aware they're doing it. I give the inevitable initiative to reverse this a pretty good chance of passing.
I agree, sadly. The forces of darkness have won all but one of these, and they'll never make the mistake they made in Arizona 2006 again. Hopefully the movement will be less incompetent than we were in California.
4.8.2009 12:19pm

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