Council gives final approval to marriage bill
Fenty set to sign measure;activists optimistic overcongressional review
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.firstname.lastname@example.org
In an action hailed as historicand groundbreaking, the D.C. CityCouncil voted 11-2 this week to givefinal approval of a bill allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in thenation’s capital.Tuesday’s vote triggered a burst ofapplause from dozens of LGBTactivists and same-sex couples whopacked the Council chambers to watchthe debate and final roll-call vote on theReligious Freedom & Civil MarriageEquality Amendment Act of 2009.“Today is the final step in a longmarch toward equality in the Districtof Columbia,” said Council memberPhil Mendelson (D-At Large), whochairs the committee that shepherd-ed the bill through the Council.Alisha Mills, president of the localsame-sex marriage advocacy groupCampaign for All Families, called theCouncil’s action “a historic day for theDistrict of Columbia” and its lesbianand gay couples.“Equality for all D.C. residents hasprevailed,” she said. “The Council’sdecision today embodies the trueessence of leadership. Thanks totheir bold work, all D.C. families willhave the same protections, opportu-nities and obligations under the law.”The bill next goes to Mayor AdrianFenty, a long-time same-sex mar-riage supporter who has pledged tosign it. It then goes to Capitol Hill,where it must undergo a required 30legislative day review by Congress.Both Democratic and Republicanleaders in the House and Senateagree that an attempt by same-sexmarriage opponents to overturn thelegislation through a disapproval reso-lution is not expected to succeed in theDemocratic controlled Congress. MostCapitol Hill observers expect the legis-lation to clear the congressional reviewand become law sometime in March.But political observers in theDistrict and on Capitol Hill say oppo-nents would have a better shot atkilling the bill next year by seeking toattach a repeal amendment to anappropriations bill, possibly the D.C.appropriations bill, which Congressmust approve each year.The city’s same-sex marriage lawalso is being targeted by a bill intro-duced earlier this year that would bansame-same marriage in the city. Thebill, known as the D.C. Defense ofMarriage Act, currently has 61 co-spon-sors in the House. It has yet to be intro-duced in the Senate. Most Capitol Hill
Lesbian to becomemayor of Houston,nation’s 4th largest city
By CHRIS JOHNSONcjohnson@dcagenda.com
Gay rights advocates are herald-ing the victory of a lesbian official inher bid to become mayor of Houstonas a triumph for LGBT Americans.Annise Parker, a Democrat andcity controller for Houston, won thecity’s Dec. 12 mayoral election by tak-ing 53 percent of the vote. Her winmarks the seventh time she’s won acitywide election in Houston andmakes the city the most populous inthe country to elect an openly LGBTmayor. She takes office Jan. 4.Paul Scott, executive director forEquality Texas, said Parker’s victoryhas “multi-layered” significance.“I think in some ways, we’ve seenthe ceiling being broken, not onlywithin the Houston area and Texas,but also nationally in terms of anopen lesbian being elected into thehighest-level office in the metropoli-tan area for the fourth largest city inthe country,” he said.Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay& Lesbian Victory Fund, whichendorsed Parker in her race, said thewin demonstrates LGBT people “areready to step up and lead.”“The voters of Houston havecome to realize that sexual orienta-tion is not an indicator of somebody’sability to do a job,” he said.Noting that Parker would beexpected to testify before the Texas
Same-sex marriage supporters rallied on Monday night in advance of the Council’shistoric vote. For more photos of the rally, see
DC Agenda photo by Michael Key
Parker’s win hailed asmajor breakthrough
Gay Men’s Chorus
presents ‘Snow White and 175Faeries: The Musical’ Dec. 18-20.
drops a few f-bombs whiletalking about her show ‘Mommy Queerest.’
BARE marksa birthday
Ladies event atCobalt celebratesone year with redcarpet party and‘L Word’ cast.
seeksto unseat Mary BonoMack and becomefirst out gay dad inCongress.
Activists denouncechanges by PoliceChief Cathy Lanier tocity’s Gay & LesbianLiaison Unit.
the lgbtq community’s news source
dcagenda.com • vol. 1, issue 5 • december 18, 2009
Continues onpage 4Continues onpage 25
, a lesbian elected Dec.12 to become Houston’s next mayor, isinterviewed at her election night party.
Photo courtesy of Gay &Lesbian Victory Fund