Gay couples looking to wed may soon have another choice in location: Washington D.C. In an from The Advocate last week, a proposal that would legalize same-sex marriages in D.C. may have enough support needed to pass, said David Catania, one of the proposal’s authors. The bill is supposed to go before the District council this week. It’s expected to come to a vote before the end of the year. If it passes, Congress will review it.
That’s when things get tough though. The article states, “Congress has 30 days to issue a joint resolution of the House and Senate disapproving an act of the council, and if the president approves the congressional resolution during that period, the act does not become law.” There’s no guarantee Congress will vote in favor of the bill, but D.C. gay rights activists are confident Democrats in Congress will step up and protect the proposal.
D.C. already offers domestic partner benefits, and it also recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states. If the bill passes, D.C. will become the first government entity south of the Mason-Dixon line with marriage equality.
If same-sex marriage becomes legal in the nation’s capital, it will set a precedent for the states that haven’t legalized it (i.e. more than half of the country). Lesbian and gay couples deserve the right to marry in every state, but receiving the right to marry in D.C. may be the most important step in the movement for equal rights. It seems like not long ago, George W. Bush was pushing Congress to ban same-sex marriage. If Congress legalizes same-sex marriage in D.C., we’re one step closer to our final goal. The battle isn’t over, but we at least have a fighting chance. Plus, if it becomes legal in D.C., the threat of a national ban on same-sex marriage doesn’t seem so well, threatening. One would hope that if the government of the nation’s capital says it’s okay for a gay couple to marry, the states would follow suit. At this point, hope is all we have.