Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Opposition building against D.C. gay marriage bill

D.C. Councilman David Catania will introduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage but opposition is growing already.

Washington Examiner reports:
The gay marriage bill that the D.C. Council will soon have before it should see a relatively smooth ride through the local legislative process, before it runs into expected resistance in Congress. The District already recognizes gay marriages legally performed elsewhere. D.C. Councilman David Catania's bill defines marriage in D.C. as "the legally recognized union of two people." It protects the clergy's right not to marry a gay couple. And it dissolves domestic partnerships of couples that marry. But gay marriage critics are banking on a fresh wave of opposition as word of the bill grows. The Archdiocese of Washington is squarely focused on the council and will be in attendance as Catania introduces the bill, said spokeswoman Susan Gibbs. Colorado-based Focus on the Family is working with local organizations to "defend one-man, one-woman marriage," the organization said in a statement. READ MORE

Although the bill is expected to pass congress, its viability most likely will depend on tilt of future chambers

Washington Post reports:
Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill said it appears unlikely that Congress will block a bill to be introduced Tuesday that would allow same-sex marriages in the District D.C. Council leaders have vowed to expedite the bill and said they hope to put it to a final vote before Christmas. But even if same-sex couples start marrying next year, the long-term survival of the practice would be in doubt for years, depending on the makeup of the House and Senate, congressional officials said.

Given the stakes for the gay community locally and nationally, many city leaders and activists have begun calculating how Congress might react to the sight of same-sex couples getting married in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

In an interview, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said she had received assurances from House Democratic leaders that she doesn't need to worry about congressional intervention. "The House and Senate have their plates really full," Norton said. "I don't think this is anything that is going to somehow scramble over into that."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who tried to derail a bill passed by the council this year recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, also expressed doubts that he or other Republicans could be major obstacles. READ MORE