House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a
mixed bag of news for gay advocates Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference, Pelosi
said that Congress should stay out of the gay marriage debate in the
District of Columbia – good news – but then added she would not
press for repeal of DOMA.
Tuesday, the Washington D.C. Council
passed on a 12 to 1 vote to recognize legal gay marriages performed
in other states and countries, and Mayor Andrian M. Fenty, a
Democrat, has said he will sign the bill into law. But under Home
Rule any laws passed by the council are subject to a 30-day review
period by the U.S. Congress.
Leaders in the District openly admit
recognition of out-of-state gay nuptials is the first step in an
effort to legalize such unions.
“The District of Columbia has said it
would recognize [gay] marriages in states where they are legal,”
Pelosi told reporters. “I don't think the Congress should
intervene there in terms of their recognition of marriage in the
states that allow them, any more than we did when New York made a
similar declaration that they would recognize [out-of-state gay]
But when asked about repeal of the
Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defines marriage as a
heterosexual union for federal agencies, Pelosi became evasive.
“Members will make a priority of
issues like gays in the military, and where we have prospects of
success, we always want to expand to a place of more opportunity and
more freedom for all Americans.”
“But right now our agenda is jobs,
jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, and as we move on that front,
concurrently, we have to make some decisions about what is possible
in our values based initiatives as well,” Pelosi said.