sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 15, 2009

the freedom to marry in d.c.
posted by soe 3:03 am

On Tuesday morning, unless something crazy happens, the D.C. Council will vote to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Tomorrow afternoon, the mayor plans to sign the bill into law. Provided Congress doesn’t act in the following 30 days to countermand it, come late-January, D.C. will join Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa in being the most forward-thinking places in the nation when it comes to marriage equality.

It is a long time coming, but the victory is now close enough to savor. My fears of Congressional intervention are not unfounded, but conversations with Council staff members over the weekend suggest that I might be worrying for naught. I hope they’re right.

On the day the D.C. Council introduced the legislation, The New York Times made a compelling case about why this issue is so important, not just here, but across the country and at a federal level. “The High Price of Being a Gay Couple” points out that the extra costs a same-sex couple in a committed couple accrue runs into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifelong relationship. This includes everything from health insurance costs to pensions to the legal costs associated with safeguarding children, power of attorney, and inheritance in the event of a health scare or death.

The law won’t even the playing field for all couples. The national DOMA law still forbids same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits, such as Social Security, that opposite-sex spouses take for granted. But it is a step in the right direction. Just as interracial marriage opponents today are considered ridiculous, I expect those people in Maine and California who voted to put hatred into their law books will be pitied for their intolerance 20 years from now.

Change is coming. It is slow, but it is coming. And I’m pleased that the District is on the right side of that movement, helping to turn the tide.

I’d like to thank all the activists who worked tirelessly on this issue in the District; the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, who twice ruled that citizens did not have a right to put hatred into a ballot initiative; Council Member David Catania, who introduced the bill and had research and answers for every argument that some bigoted person or group brought forward; Council Member Phil Mendelson, who chairs the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary that moved the bill forward to a full Council vote; and the other eight Council Members who are expected to vote for the bill. This law means so much to Rudi and me, and we are going to be tremendously proud to be District residents tomorrow.

Category: dc life,gay rights,politics. There is/are 5 Comments.

YAY DC! I <3 you!!

Seriously, I want to be a bridesmaid at a gay wedding. It's on my bucket list. Can NOT WAIT to CELEBRATE!!

Comment by laura 12.15.09 @ 8:33 am

Yay! That’s a great start! Huzzah for DC!!

Comment by Jenn 12.15.09 @ 9:29 am

Eloquent, Sprite!

Comment by Nan 12.15.09 @ 10:42 am

@Jenn: Yes, we’re really excited, although Congress is already starting to rumble about how to prevent it from taking effect.

@Nan: Thank you!

Comment by soe 12.16.09 @ 4:02 am

[…] The D.C. Council passed the marriage equality law on Tuesday 11-2. Mayor Fenty will sign the bill tomorrow. Challenges have already begun, both in […]

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