WASHINGTON-The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, the same day Vermont became the fourth state to legalize homosexual marriages-the first state to do so through legislation. The Iowa Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in that state last week, joining the ranks of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
D.C. Council member David Catania, who is homosexual, told reporters the vote was part of "the march towards human rights and equality."
The district cannot legalize same-sex marriage for now because it is not a state, and Congress must approve its laws, and such a measure will face significant political hurdles in that body. The Council's recognition of out-of-state homosexual marriages, however, shows that if the district is given its own voting representation in Congress, in effect transforming it into a state, same-sex marriage could swiftly become legal.
The district, whose mayor, Adrian Fenty supports gay marriage, has a substantial homosexual population, and already recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships, which grants many marriage rights.
The bill granting Washington, D.C., a voting representative currently is pending in the House of Representatives, bogged down by an amendment that loosens gun restrictions in the district. But House Democratic leadership is working to get past the gridlock over guns to pass the bill-which has some conservative groups in the city concerned that the legalization of gay marriage would be right around the corner.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, issued a statement following last week's Iowa Supreme Court decision, saying that the same-sex marriage movement is being driven by a liberal minority: "The casual dismissal of the facts of human biology and thousands of years of human history, simply to pander to a small band of social radicals, is bizarre and indefensible."
In Vermont, both the state House and Senate cast votes to override a veto of a gay marriage bill by Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, who said the votes were "not unexpected."
Columnist Cal Thomas writes in his Tuesday column, "The battle over same-sex marriage is on the way to being lost."