WASHINGTON, D.C. (Observer Update) - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded the D.C. Council for an initial 12-0 vote today to fully recognize marriages by lesbian and gay couples legally entered into in other jurisdictions. The Council also voted to recognize civil unions and broad domestic partnerships entered into in other jurisdictions as domestic partnerships under D.C. law. A final Council vote on both bills is expected May 5. The bills would then be sent to Mayor Adrian Fenty and, if approved, would be sent to Congress for a 30 legislative day review period.
“The D.C. Council’s votes today are another positive step toward equality, coming on the same day as the historic marriage vote in the Vermont legislature,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “We look forward to the final Council votes, and urge Mayor Fenty to sign this common-sense legislation. We also hope that Congress will respect the Council’s votes and will respect the District of Columbia’s choice to provide equal recognition for couples who have legally entered into relationships in other jurisdictions.”
Washington, D.C. law currently provides domestic partnerships for lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples that give access to the rights and responsibilities of marriage under D.C. law. Four states currently recognize marriage for lesbian and gay couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa (expected to begin April 24, 2009) and Vermont (effective September 1, 2009, following a vote by the legislature earlier today).
New York recognizes marriages by lesbian and gay couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction. California recognized marriage by lesbian and gay couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in court; a decision by the state supreme court is expected by June.
Lesbian and gay couples do not receive federal rights and responsibilities anywhere in the United States. To learn more about state by state legislation, visit: www.hrc.org/state_laws.
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