The D.C. Council, in a vote of 11-2, has passed a bill recognizing gay marriage in the District. The two no votes were Yvette Alexander and Marion Barry. We didn’t catch all of the pre-vote debate but both Barry and Harry Thomas gave pretty energetic support for their opposing positions, both invoking the Founding Fathers. If you missed it and want to watch yourself the video will eventually be posted here in the archive for week 5.
This is the first reading for this bill, meaning that we’re not even at the point yet where the mayor’s signature is sought. The bill will be placed on the agenda for another council meeting for its second reading. By law that’s no sooner than 14 days out, but the actual next scheduled [edited] legislative meeting is January 5th of next year. At that point, if it passes again, it goes on to the mayor.
The mayor’s signature is expected, at which point… it’s still not law. It’ll get an act number and get sent on to Congress, who will have 30 days to issue a joint resolution condemning it. If President Obama approves that resolution then we’re tanked and the law doesn’t go into effect. Expectations are that this isn’t going to happen, though there’s always a possibility when you’re only barely allowed to govern yourself.
At this pace, and allowing for some time for the city offices to get their process in order, the soonest we likely will see gay marriages in the District is in March of next year.
Edit: Whoops. The next scheduled legislative meeting is on Jan 5, however the committee of the whole will meet on Dec 15th and may consider the matter then, though no published agenda is yet available.
Second edit: My initial reading of the DC process was in fact correct; Phil Mendelson’s legislative assistant Michael Battle confirmed for me that the second reading for the bill must happen at a legislative meeting, not the committee of the whole. One last meeting may happen before year’s end, however currently none is scheduled till January.