A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington DC will be introduced on Tuesday by openly gay city council member David Catania.
After months of buildup, D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At large) announced Wednesday evening he would introduce his proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in the District at Tuesday’s council meeting. Catania made his announcement before 150 gay rights activists gathered in Shaw for a rally featuring the Rev. Eric P. Lee, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “We are going to do it now,” Catania told the crowd. “We are going to do it now, not for ourselves, but for the young people who are 20 years-old, 16-years-old, 13-years-old.” According to a copy of the bill, the city code would be changed to state “marriage is the legally recognized union of two people” and “any person … may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender.” Catania’s bill, which states religious organizations and officials have the right not to participate in same-sex marriages, is expected to pass the council easily when it comes up for a vote around Thanksgiving. Ten of 13 council members will co-introduce Catania’s bill Tuesday, and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) has pledged to sign it.
After approval by the DC city council, the bill will have to get past Congress, who has final say in local legislation. Catania says he’s reached out to the White House for support and that their response has been “very good.”