Washington D.C. plans to legalize gay marriage

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The Washington D.C. city council now looks set to legalize same-sex marriage in the district, with the first step in the process to be taken on Tuesday.

According to a copy of the bill, the city code would be changed to state 'marriage is the legally recognized union of two people' and 'any person ... may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender.' Catania's bill, which states religious organizations and officials have the right not to participate in same-sex marriages, is expected to pass the council easily when it comes up for a vote around Thanksgiving. Ten of 13 council members will co-introduce Catania's bill Tuesday, and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has pledged to sign it.
The Washington D.C. city council floated a test balloon on this subject earlier this year, when they passed a bill under which Washington D.C.. now recognizes as valid same-sex marriages legally performed outside the district (the new bill would add the step of Washington D.C. granting same-sex marriage licenses itself). The bill passed the council without real incident and failed to make any ripples with the other potential obstacle to marriage equality in D.C.-- the U.S. Congress, which under the "Home Rule" act has the http://www.congressmatters.com/tag/DC%20home%20rule [Broken] any local law passed by D.C.'s elected city council by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. Between the ground cleared by that previous bill and the support lined up for this one, the new bill seems certain to pass.

Any marriages performed by the city of D.C. under this bill would of course not be recognized by the federal government, which under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize any same-sex marriage. A bill to repeal the DOMA was introduced this last month by Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, but this is not expected to come up for a vote before the 2010 elections: Congress has several other gay rights bills under consideration, such as the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which Congressional leaders on LGBT issues have said must be completed before a bill like Nadler's can be considered.
 
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  • #2
chemisttree
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And if they ever want to get divorced, http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/DN-gaydivorce_02met.ART.State.Edition2.4bcd80d.html" [Broken]... well, maybe.
 
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The District has a very large "daily" gay population. That is not everyone lives in D.C. Many of the men and women are Government workers. The Bill might send a symbolic message to legislators.
 
  • #4
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Update on an old thread: the DC gay marriage bill described above passed, 11-2. The only council members to vote against were Marion Barry and Yvette Alexander.

There is a formal second vote and then the mayor has to sign it, but these are basically procedural. Meanwhile the attempts to start a ballot referendum on the law have been unsuccessful, after courts ruled that the same-sex marriage law is out of the scope of what the DC referendum process may be used for. We should expect to see marriages start sometime around spring.
 
  • #5
awestruck
Someone please explain. What business is it of anyone, let alone government, who I choose to "marry"?
 
  • #6
mgb_phys
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Someone please explain. What business is it of anyone, let alone government, who I choose to "marry"?
Tax, inheritance, pension, power of attorney, adoption, immigration, citizenship, visas ......
 
  • #7
EnumaElish
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Tax, inheritance, pension, power of attorney, adoption, immigration, citizenship, visas ......
Health insurance -- dead giveaway for "I live in the U.S."
 
  • #8
awestruck
Tax, inheritance, pension, power of attorney, adoption, immigration, citizenship, visas ......
I understand what you're saying...but...if I choose to make a private union with someone, why does that need to be sanctioned by a government? Legal documents can be prepared for the record. Taxes can still be paid, inheritance, pension, p/a etc. are civil issues. Immigration, citizenship, visas can still be recorded or granted.

I just don't see why a marriage has to be made legal or illegal.
 
  • #9
I just don't see why a marriage has to be made legal or illegal.
Its a legally binding contract so the government has a say in how and what circumstances such contracts can be made. I can just as easily say that it is my own private business if I wish to marry a 10 year old, so what reason does the government have to butt in? The question is more whether or not the government has the right to deny marriage based on the sex of the persons marrying.
 
  • #10
mgb_phys
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but...if I choose to make a private union with someone, why does that need to be sanctioned by a government?
So instead of a marriage, a civil legal procedure where in front of a court official sanctioned by the government and witnesses you declare a legal bond between two people - you propose some sort of private procedure in front of a lawyer sanctioned by the government and witnesses where you declare a legal bond between two people?
 
  • #11
awestruck
So instead of a marriage, a civil legal procedure where in front of a court official sanctioned by the government and witnesses you declare a legal bond between two people - you propose some sort of private procedure in front of a lawyer sanctioned by the government and witnesses where you declare a legal bond between two people?
Correct...NO marriage license required.
 
  • #12
awestruck
Its a legally binding contract so the government has a say in how and what circumstances such contracts can be made. I can just as easily say that it is my own private business if I wish to marry a 10 year old, so what reason does the government have to butt in?
Can a 10 year old enter into a legally binding contract? I don't ask this to be flippant, I don't know the answer.
 
  • #13
Can a 10 year old enter into a legally binding contract? I don't ask this to be flippant, I don't know the answer.
No. The parents or guardian would have to enter into the contract on their behalf. With marriage even that is not possible, at least not here anyway.
 
  • #14
awestruck
No. The parents or guardian would have to enter into the contract on their behalf. With marriage even that is not possible, at least not here anyway.
Thanks for answering.

Alas, a complicated issue.

Time to move on...
 
  • #15
CRGreathouse
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Can a 10 year old enter into a legally binding contract? I don't ask this to be flippant, I don't know the answer.
Yes, actually they can (contrary to TSA). The issue is that in many states minors are able to repudiate (most) contracts they enter into, so the non-minor party must accept that degree of uncertainty.
 
  • #16
This country can be so shockingly backwards sometimes. Of course gay couples should be allowed to marry. That this is even a discussion should shame any native born American.
 
  • #17
CRGreathouse
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This country can be so shockingly backwards sometimes. Of course gay couples should be allowed to marry. That this is even a discussion should shame any native born American.
Speak for yourself. I don't think that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry, just like I don't think heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry.
 
  • #18
Speak for yourself. I don't think that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry, just like I don't think heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry.
I am not a fan of marriage as a legal institution, but I am a fan of equal rights/protection. There is a vast gulf between "Gay people shouldn't get married", "Marriage is a failed legal construction," and "I want to impose my will, and neither should be ALLOWED to marry."

The first is simple bigotry, the second is a valid view, but the third requires such strict control over a populace that it is not doable. The notion that some do not deserve equal rights is backwards, as is the notion of total control of relationships.
 
  • #19
mgb_phys
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Correct...NO marriage license required.
Interestingly 'straight' couples in Austria are now demanding a right to 'gay' marriages.

In a few Eu countries gay marriages are legal, but in most others you can have a civil partnership as you described, basically all the tax advantages of a marriage but quicker, cheaper to get married and much easier to get divorced. The majority of civil marriages in France are now 'civil partnerships'.
So there is a big equal rights campaign for fairness in allowing gay marriages for all.

In the UK there might even be celebrity-straight-gay marriages. Marriages ceremonies in the UK are public so you cannot keep photographers from a rival magazine out of your wedding. But civil partnerships can be made in private (there was a concern that gay couples might face discrimination) so if you want to sell your wedding to a supermarket tabloid you could choose this route.
 
  • #20
Speak for yourself. I don't think that homosexual couples should be allowed to marry, just like I don't think heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry.
Why should you have any say in this sort of contract that people want to involve themselves in?


Also, aside from the rare exception, I am fairly certain minors are not allowed to enter into formal contracts on their own without a legal guardian. Even in the case of exceptions I believe that the law requires that there is someone looking out for the best interests of the child, acting at least as a temporary legal steward.
 

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