A promised, nearly certain to be
approved, gay marriage bill is expected to be introduced Tuesday in
Washington D.C., the bill's sponsor, councilman David A. Catania
(I-At Large), announced Wednesday.
The openly gay lawmaker revealed his
plans during a speech to 150 gay activists at the Call for Action
Convocation for Marriage Equality, a discussion on how to secure the
right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in the District.
“We are going to do it now,”
Catania told the crowd, The Washington Post reported.
“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.”
The bill, titled the Religious
Freedom and Civil Marriage Amendment Act of 2009, would change
the definition of marriage to say that “marriage is the legally
recognized union of two people” and “any person who otherwise
meets the eligibility requirements … may marry any other eligible
person regardless of gender.”
While the bill's approval is all but
certain, it won't be painless – if last spring's fight for a gay
marriage recognition bill is any indication. Gay marriage supporters
won that round and gay couples married outside the District are
recognized by the government.
Opponents, however, might be down but
don't count them out. They continue to pursue a ballot initiative
that would ban gay marriage in the District. The one sentence
initiative says, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid
and recognized in the District of Columbia.”
Gay marriage backers will also need the
approval of Congress, which under Home Rule has the final say on laws
approved by the city council.
Catania says he has spoken with the
White House about the issue.
“We are not asking the White House to
change its position on marriage equality – the discussion with the
White House is about supporting local home rule,” Catania told
reporters. “Everyone knows where the president is on this issue,
but we also know the president has high regard for home rule and
local autonomy. And on those grounds we believe the White House
should work with us in defending the actions of the local