An Interesting Wrinkle About Gay Marriage In D.C.

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in D.C., Law, Marriage, Sexuality

One thing to remember is that D.C.’s council only voted to recognize other state’s gay marriages. And maybe this is why they haven’t taken the next step.

Due to D.C.’s strange system of governance, the District’s laws are subject to approval by Congress. If D.C. passes a gay marriage ordinance, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the subcommittee that handles District matters will have to either reject D.C.’s decision or accept it.

If they reject it, the outrage from gay donors and activist groups will be overwhelming.

If they approve it, even on federalist grounds, the Right will argue that Congress has literally approved gay marriage.

Given this, is gay marriage in D.C. a lot less likely? Maybe. But I’m sure a lot of Dem politicos are looking for a chance to federally approve gay marriage in an official/unofficial way and this could be a way to do that.

More as it develops…

UPDATE:
Seems like there’s a much more likely scenario than Dems approving this…

What Klein doesn’t quite get right is that Congress need not actively “approve” D.C.’s decision. If lawmakers do nothing about the bill for 30 days, it’s law.

In fact, no District statute has been actively disapproved by Congress; what is more common is that “riders” are attached to District appropriations prohibiting spending on the controversial legislation—which is what happened when D.C. first passed domestic-partnership laws.

So there you go. No real conflict for D.C. to pass a gay marriage law.


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2009 and is filed under D.C., Law, Marriage, Sexuality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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