D.C. council votes for 'same-sex marriages'
WASHINGTON (BP)--The District of Columbia Council has voted to recognize "same-sex marriages" performed in other jurisdictions, providing another victory for supporters of the effort to legalize homosexual unions.
The D.C. Council voted 12-1 for the resolution, providing its second and final passage, and sent it to Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is expected to sign it. Congress, which has legislative authority over D.C., will have 30 days to review the measure. An attempt to rescind the legislation is expected to be mounted by some members of Congress, although the Democratic leadership opposes such an effort.
If approved, the legislation would enable homosexual couples in D.C. to have wedding ceremonies in states where "same-sex marriage" is legal and have those unions recognized by the district.
On May 6, the day after the D.C. vote, Maine became the fifth state to legalize "same-sex marriage." The Maine Senate passed such a bill, and Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, signed it the same day.
New Hampshire may soon become the sixth state to endorse homosexual marriage. The House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize the practice May 6, sending it to Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who has not indicated whether he will sign or veto it.
In addition to Maine, "same-sex marriage" also is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. Before November, only Massachusetts and Connecticut had legalized marriage between members of the same sex.
A Southern Baptist public policy specialist described the D.C. vote to recognize marriages from other states as "deeply disappointing."
"The D.C. council has decided to join the handful of states who believe that marriage can mean anything they want it to mean," said Barrett Duke, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's vice president for public policy. "This is a sad day for the families and children of the District of Columbia. Now the U.S. Congress will have to decide whether or not to let this deplorable decision stand. Soon, the nation will know just exactly where their elected representatives stand on the same-sex marriage question."
If the new resolution becomes law, D.C. council member David Catania is expected to introduce in a few months a measure to legalize "gay marriage," according to The Washington Post.
"Gays and lesbians bear every burden of citizenship and are entitled to every benefit and protection that the law allows to everyone else," said Catania, who is openly homosexual, in a written statement after the vote.
In Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R.-Utah, said he would seek to prevent the resolution from taking effect. "Some things are worth fighting for, and this is one of them," Chaffetz said, according to The Post. Chaffetz is the top Republican on a House of Representatives subcommittee that provides oversight to D.C.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, however, there would be no vote to overturn the resolution. "I don't think the Congress should intervene there in terms of their recognition of marriages in the states that allow them," she said, according to Congressional Quarterly. Pelosi supports "same-sex marriage."
The ERLC's Duke joined D.C. area pastors and other opponents of "same-sex marriage" in a prayer meeting across the street from the Wilson Building, which houses the council's chambers, before and during the May 5 meeting.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.