DC Council passes gay marriage bill in first of two votes

The D.C. City Council on Tuesday voted 11-2 to give preliminary approval to a bill that would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the city, reports DC Agenda.

David Catania, the bill's author

David Catania, the bill's sponsor

“It’s a day I never thought I would see and never thought I would have the privilege to participate in as a gay person,” said Council member David Catania (I-At Large), the bill’s author, during the Council’s 40-minute debate on the measure.

The bill faces a final vote that is scheduled tentatively for Dec. 15.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill, which would go into effect after a mandatory 30-day congressional review period.

If approved, the District of Columbia will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in performing same-sex marriages. New Hampshire will begin performing same-sex marriages in January.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and leader of a coalition of social conservative and Christian groups opposed to same-sex marriage, watched the Council’s vote Tuesday from a front-row seat in the audience.

He told reporters after the vote that his coalition would continue to urge Congress to step in to overturn the same-sex marriage law.

He said he and his supporters also would continue their court challenge of a D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics decision in October that refused to place on the ballot a voter initiative seeking to ban same-sex marriage in the District.

The board concluded that an initiative banning gay marriage would violate the city’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Jackson filed suit in D.C. Superior Court seeking to overturn the election board’s action. He has said he would appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if he and his backers lose in lower courts.

Full story at DC Agenda.

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