The Washington, DC Council voted in a 12 to 1 vote yesterday to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. The council voted unanimously for the measure in a preliminary vote in April. Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the measure.
Former DC Mayor and Councilmember Marion Barry, who supports same sex domestic partnership and marriage rights, but cast the sole vote against the bill, said after the vote that “All hell is going to break loose….We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this,” reported the Washington Post. An emotional debate took place at the council meeting prior to the vote. At one point, Councilmember David Catania, who is openly gay, said “this issue is whether or not our colleagues, on a personal level, view me and Jim Graham as your equals….if we are permitted the same rights and responsibilities and obligations as our colleagues. So this is personal. This is acknowledging our families as much as we acknowledge yours,” according to the Washington Post.
Congress has jurisdiction over DC’s laws and has 30 days after the measure is signed to reject the measure. In order to block the legislation, a joint resolution against the legislation must be passed by Congress and this resolution must be approved by the president, according to the Washington Times. If Congress does not take action, the measure will become law. In a statement, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said “I do not believe that a serious attempt to overturn the Council bill will be made or would be successful.”