D.C. Council Vote to Recognize Marriages of Same-Sex Couples From Other Jurisdictions

The Washington, D.C. Council voted 12 – 1 to recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions. Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the bill shortly; it would then be sent to Congress for a 30 legislative day review period.

“This legislation will strengthen families in Washington, D.C. by making clear that same-sex couples married in other jurisdictions are entitled to equal respect and dignity under the law,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.  “The District of Columbia Council has determined that it makes sense, and is simply the right thing to do, to recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into outside the District.  We thank the Council for taking this common-sense action, and we look forward to Mayor Fenty signing this legislation.  We also hope that Congress will respect the District of Columbia’s choice to provide equal recognition for couples who have legally married in other jurisdictions.”

Washington, D.C. currently provides domestic partnerships for both same-sex and different-sex couples that give access to the rights and responsibilities of marriage under D.C. law.  Four states currently recognize marriage for same-sex couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (effective September 1, 2009).

New York recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction.  California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality.  The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in court; a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.

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