When marriage equality rains, marriage equality pours. On the heels of the Iowa Supreme Court affirming marriage equality and Vermont’s legislature overcoming the governor’s veto to legalizing same-sex marriage, our nation’s capital makes some in-roads: Washington D.C. will recognize same-sex marriages from any state where it’s legal.
The city already grants civil unions to same-sex couples. Now, if you’re a gay couple married in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, or Vermont, you’ll be entitled to the same rights as straight married couples in D.C. The D.C. Council today passed a bill granting those rights, reports WaPo.
The initial vote was 12-0. The unanimous vote sets the stage for future debate on legalizing same-sex marriage in the District and a clash with Congress, which approves the city’s laws under Home Rule. The council is expected to take a final vote on the legislation next month.
Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is gay, called the amendment a matter of “basic fairness.”
The city’s laws on same-sex unions have been murky, he explained. Couples ask, he said, “Is my marriage valid in D.C.? For years now, it has not been clear.”
“It’s high time we send a clear, unequivocal message to those persons of the same sex and married in another jurisdiction that their marriage is valid in D.C.,” said Graham, who added, “I hope this city recognizes this is a human rights struggle.”
Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), who is also gay, predicted it was only a matter of time before the council also takes up a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. “It’s no secret that I have been working on legislation that would take us further,” he said. “This is the march toward human rights and equality. This is not the march toward special rights. This is the equal march and that march is coming here.”