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Tipsheet

Ramifications of Gay Marriage In DC

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.
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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.

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