Metro Weekly

Council Moves on Marriage

Full support for amendment to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

The D.C. City Council voted unanimously this morning in favor of an amendment that aims to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. The amendment, introduced initially by Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At large) before receiving support of the full Council, has been added to an unrelated bill that has already passed through committee, offering the Mendelson amendment among the shortest possible routes through the Council.

The question of whether the District would recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states and countries has been considered since former Mayor Anthony Williams asked then-D.C. Attorney General Anthony Spagnoletti to issue an opinion on the matter, which he did in 2004. That opinion was never revealed.

”Now we’re into a new administration, where the legal opinion that would’ve resolved this has not been issued,” Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is gay, said during the April 7 legislative meeting. ”It isn’t as if we haven’t been patient. We have been patient. We have waited, waited, waited for this clarification. And now I think it is absolutely necessary that this Council take the step that Mr. Mendelson is proposing along with others and say that a marriage valid elsewhere is a marriage valid in the District of Columbia.”

Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has pledged support for same-sex marriage, is expected to sign the bill as amended, following a final Council vote, possibly next month. The measure, if signed, will also face congressional oversight.

Look for more on this story in the April 9 issue of Metro Weekly.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.