Expanding Fairness to Same-Sex Couples (Councilmember Phil Mendelson)

The Council of the District of Columbia has made a number of changes to District law over the years that expand, out of a fundamental belief in fairness, the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples and their families.   As Chairperson of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, I have moved a number of measures to provide equal rights, and equal dignity, to those in committed relationships who may otherwise be legally barred from marriage.

In the meantime, other jurisdictions have begun to permit same-sex couples to enter into a marriage.  I believe that the District of Columbia should recognize these relationships for what they are: legitimate marriages.  Late last year, I moved legislation that allowed the Mayor to recognize relationships from other jurisdictions, whatever they are called, in the District.  When it became clear that the Mayor was not going to utilize that authority, I moved the amendment voted on today automatically recognizing relationships from other jurisdictions.  This, of course, includes same-sex marriages entered into legally in other jurisdictions.

For me this is a simple step that the District must take to do what is fair.  While we still have more to do before we can claim to provide all District residents with equal rights, in adopting this measure today we have moved closer toward attaining that all important goal.