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Committee unveils changes to same-sex bill

A D.C. Council committee will probably approve major changes Tuesday to the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District, including a provision that will make it easier for churches to avoid having to participate in gay weddings and receptions.

In preparation for the "mark up" hearing before the Committee of Public Safety and the Judiciary, Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) released a draft of the amendments that will probably be attached to the bill.

The two biggest changes involve the religious exemptions as well as the question of whether the District would continue to offer domestic partnerships once same-sex marriage is permitted.

As introduced by council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), the bill calls for the elimination of domestic partnerships starting in 2011. But Mendelson, with support from Catania, wants to have that provision stricken from the bill when the committee votes today.

In recent weeks, some D.C. residents have argued that couples should have the choice to choose between a marriage and a domestic partnership. They noted that straight and gay couples apply for domestic partnerships.

"The Committee recognizes that it may be appropriate, at some point in the future, to address whether the District should continue with the provision of domestic partnerships," the draft committee report states. "However, it does not believe that it is necessary to evaluate discontinuing domestic partnerships at this time, nor does it believe that the current legislation is the appropriate vehicle."

Mendelson, chairman of the public safety committee, is also moving to strengthen the religious exemption of the bill.

As currently drafted, churches and religious officials would not have to marry same-sex couples. Religious organizations could also deny reception space and other services to same-sex couples "unless the entity makes such services, accommodations, or goods available for purchase, rental, or use to members of the general public."

Some church officials opposed that language, arguing that it could force them to stop providing some services to the public.

The revised language would permit a church or religious official to deny services related to the "solemnization, celebration, or promotion" of a same-sex wedding without fear of running afoul of the city's anti-discrimination laws.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 9, 2009; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  Church and State , City Life , D.C. Council , Tim Craig , same-sex marriage  
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Comments

Good thing the changes to the bill are not too drastic, but are reasonable. Washington, D.C. will recognize same-sex marriage, a right which all LGBT people must have access to in every state of the United States. Homophobia is intolerance which brings no benefit. David A. Catania is correct in that domestic partnerships must be removed in 2011 because there would already be the right of same-sex marriage by that year.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | November 9, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

NO TO HOMSEXUAL MARRIAGE IN WASHINGTON, DC!

HOMOSEXUALITY IS A CHOICE!
YOU ARE NOT BORN A HOMOSEXUAL!

FENTY, GRAHAM AND GAYTANIA MUST GO!

Posted by: nivla | November 9, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT A CHOICE. HUMAN BEINGS
ARE BORN EITHER HETEROSEXUAL OR HOMOSEXUAL.
YOU CAN NOT CHOOSE YOUR SEXUALITY. YOU ARE
BORN TO BE ONE OR THE OTHER.

Posted by: hillmgeraldine | November 10, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

NO TO ORGANIZED RELIGION!!

RELIGIOUS BELIEF (AND ITS ASSOCIATED BIGORTY) IS A CHOICE.

DOWN WITH RELIGION.

RELIGION POISONS EVERYTHING!!

Posted by: B-rod | November 10, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

FENTY MUST GO!! AND WE KNOW WHY HE WANTS THIS; HOPEFULLY HIS WIFE IS USING PROTECTION!! THE GAYS ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER DC; LIKE FENTY IS TAKING OVER AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR THOSE IN NEED!!

SAY NO TO GAYS IN DC; YOUR CHOICE IS YOUR CHOICE AND WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO ACCEPTED; GAYTANIA TALKS LIKE HE HAS SOMETHING IN MOUTH!

Posted by: shadon1 | November 10, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Stop it! Yes,down with religion up with a relationship w God!!!! God is Sovereign!! Stop trying to FORCE what you believe on the public! Woman was created for the man! The spirit of perversion is continuing to be loosed in the atmosphere by recognizing marraige between same sex couples! Those who denounce the word of God will be judged not those who uphold HIS word! God is Love but he also hates sin, you call on God when you're sick or in trouble stop trying to kick him out of your fleshly sins when it's convenient for you!!! My belief system will not change nor my faith in Almighty God!!

Posted by: ehenry1 | November 10, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

>>>THE GAYS ARE TRYING TO TAKE OVER DC

"Try"?? Girl get with the times that train left the station a long time ago!

>>>Stop trying to FORCE what you believe on the public

you gotta love it, maybe we should repeal letting blacks marry whites and see how folks feel about that - civil rights are civil rights, but apparently once one group gets theirs they are good and screw everyone else. The rights of minorities (*any* minority) can never be left up to majority vote, get over it.

Posted by: juantana | November 10, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

YES...THEY HAVE TRY TO TAKE OVER DC...WE WILL VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE IN 2010...WE CAN DO THIS...WE CAN DO THIS

Posted by: dcynnep | November 10, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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