MARRIAGE DIGEST: D.C. considers recognizing Mass. 'gay marriages'; Spain moves closer to redefining marriage
WASHINGTON (BP)--A push in the nation's capital to allow joint tax returns for same-sex couples has drawn a warning from a leading conservative senator.
The Washington Post reported April 20 that the city’s attorney general ruled that homosexual couples "married" in Massachusetts could file joint tax returns -- but that D.C.’s Office of Tax and Revenue "reserves the authority" to reject the filings.
The ruling by D.C. Attorney General Robert J. Spagnoletti placed the issue of same-sex "marriage" front and center in the nation's capital. Washington, D.C., which has a large homosexual population, does not have a law protecting the traditional definition of marriage.
But while the city itself is liberal -- it went 90 percent for John Kerry and its mayor favors "gay marriage" -- its government has only limited power. Its budget requires annual approval by Congress, which is dominated by conservatives. In addition, Congress has the power to overturn laws that pass the D.C. city council.
Congressional Republicans say that Spagnoletti's opinion did not go unnoticed.
"I was hopeful we weren't going to be confronting this issue. But it appears there will need to be a review and a discussion," Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., was quoted as saying in The Post. A social conservative, Brownback oversees the subcommittee that approves the D.C. budget.
"I have been and continue to be a strong believer and protector of traditional marriage. I think it's an important issue for society and for the country," Brownback said. "This issue has now been moving across the country for several years, and I guess we will deal with something in D.C. now."
D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams declined to tell The Post whether the city eventually will recognize "gay marriages" from Massachusetts. The city already has a domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples hospital visitation benefits and the ability to participate in medical decisions for a partner.
"We're at a very, very difficult situation because we're not just any city," Williams told the newspaper.
SPAIN CLOSER TO 'GAY MARRIAGE' -- Spain moved one step closer to legalizing same-sex "marriage" April 21 when its parliament passed a "gay marriage" bill by a vote of 183-136, Reuters reported. It still must pass the Senate and once more in parliament, but is expected to become law.
Spain would join Belgium and the Netherlands as the only countries to legalize same-sex "marriage." Seven provinces in Canada and one state in the U.S. also have legalized "gay marriage."
The legislation is among a host of liberal bills being pushed by the ruling Socialist Party, which came to power following the Madrid train bombings in March 2004.
Spain's Catholic bishops have criticized the bill, saying it would be "damaging to the common good," Reuters reported.
CANADIAN ELECTIONS COMING -- Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin delivered a rare address to the nation April 21, apologizing for a corruption scandal and promising to call an election after an investigation concludes. A Canadian leader had not addressed the nation in a decade, the Associated Press reported.
Martin's governing Liberal Party -- which is pushing to legalize same-sex "marriage" -- is in danger of being toppled amidst a scandal that some are calling Canada's "Watergate." The complex scandal, which dates back several years, involves Liberal officials allegedly asking advertising firms for donations to the party in exchange for government contracts.
"Those who have violated the public trust will be identified and will pay the consequences," said Martin, who has been prime minister less than two years and who denies involvement.
Martin pledged to call an election one month after an investigation is complete, which is expected to be by Dec. 15, according to the AP. (Canada does not have scheduled elections.) But he may not last that long. Because the Liberals don't have a majority of seats in Parliament, the other three parties could topple the government if they decide not to cooperate on legislation. If the government falls, a bill that would legalize "gay marriage" nationwide almost certainly would die.
The Conservative Party, which opposes same-sex "marriage," has the second most seats in Parliament and could come to power if an election is called.
"The Liberals are not giving us any real positive reasons to prop them up," Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said, according to the Toronto Star. "It’s great to say, 'We’re trying to fix this scandal that has been going on for two years and we need another eight months.' That really doesn’t provide me a very good reason morally, ethically or politically to prop up this government."
RALLIES, LAWSUITS -- Approximately 2,000 supporters of a marriage amendment to the Minnesota constitution rallied April 20 on the state capitol lawn. The amendment has passed the House but not the Senate, which is controlled by the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).
Gov. Tim Pawlenty attended the rally and criticized those who say the amendment is a distraction from more important issues.
"Mosquitoes when you are trying to get to sleep are a distraction," Pawlenty said, according to the Pioneer Press. "Marriage between a man and a woman and protecting that is not a distraction. It is important."
But Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson says the Senate won't vote on the amendment this year, according to the AP.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit to prevent a constitutional marriage amendment from going to Tennessee voters in 2006. The amendment overwhelmingly passed the state House and Senate. The lawsuit alleges that the House and Senate did not follow state constitutional protocol in passing the amendment.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex "marriage," visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage