Ramifications of Gay Marriage In DC

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: May 07, 2009 10:34 AM
Yesterday, the D.C. City Council approved a measure to recognize gay marriage in the District by a vote of 10-1.  After the Council passes a measure, Congress has 30 days to approve or reject it, but if Congress doesn't do anything at all, it automatically becomes law.

After the 30 days have passed, Congress can go back and change the law with amendments - which is actually the more common way to do it - but D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said that's unlikely.
While it is always wise to be strategic on matters that come before Congress, I do not believe that a serious attempt to overturn the Council bill will be made or would be successful.
Critics worry that the District's recognition of gay marriage could set a precedent across the country, given that the area is governed by Congress. If Congress explicitly approves gay marriage now, it would be harder for them to overturn state laws.