News (USA)

Gay marriage on the agenda in DC Council hearings this week

DC Gay MarriageSame-sex marriage will be the subject of two separate public hearings Monday in the District of Columbia, with hundreds of witnesses expected to testify.

The D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics is scheduled to hold a hearing Monday morning on a voter initiative aimed at banning same-sex marriage. Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland minister who is leading efforts to oppose same-sex marriage in the District, proposed the initiative.

Later in the day, D.C. City Council member Phil Mendelson is scheduled to hold a separate hearing on legislation introduced by gay Council member David Catania to legalize same-sex marriage in D.C.

More than 250 people have signed up to testify for or against Catania’s proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in the District, setting the stage for what may be one of the biggest hearings ever conducted by the D.C. Council.

Mendelson (D-At large), chairman of the Public Safety and Judiciary Committee, said the first 100 witnesses will start testifying Monday at 3:30 p.m. The remaining witnesses will be able to testify a week later on Nov. 2.

In all, 269 people asked to testify before Thursday’s deadline.

Mendelson said he does not recall there ever being a hearing with so many public witnesses.

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