Mendelson Urges Recognition

Councilmember pens letter to Mayor Fenty regarding out-of-state partnerships

City Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At large) has offered the latest word in the push to have Mayor Adrian Fenty recognize same-sex partnerships of other jurisdictions that are similar to the District’s own domestic partnerships.

In a March 9 letter to the mayor, Mendelson wrote, in part, “At the core, the various domestic partnership bills that have come out of the Council over the years have sought to advance the longstanding policy of the District to bring equality to domestic partners and their families.”

In light of that City Council posture, Mendelson asks in his letter why D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles may be using extreme caution in interpreting the law — since taking effect in September as part of the Omnibus Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2008 — when he, Mendelson writes, has otherwise worked to expand Fenty’s authority.

While neither Fenty nor Nickels returned Metro Weekly‘s request for comment regarding the Omnibus interpretation, Fenty did release a Feb. 3 statement to members of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance and others via e-mail, advising them that the issue is being reviewed. In the e-mail, the mayor reiterated his support for same-sex marriage: “My administration supports full equality for all citizens of the District, including marriage equality.”

Pointing out in his letter that several jurisdictions offer same-sex partnerships “substantially similar” to D.C.’s own, Mendelson has urged Fenty to recognize such out-of-state partnerships “forthwith.”

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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