Domestic partnerships are already legal in the nation’s capital. But yesterday’s vote, billed as an important milestone in gay rights, explicitly recognizes relocated gay married couples as married.
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.”
This doesn’t mean that gay marriage has been legalized in the district, but that legislation is apparently in the pipeline so be on the lookout for it to happen soon.