The D.C. City Council voted today to recognize gay marriage performed in states where such marriages are legal. Two points:
1) Whoo hoo!
2) Now the proposal has to go to Congress. This will be a telling moment for gay rights and Democrats. I've written before about the semi-abusive relationship that gay Americans have with the Democratic Party: Dems treat gays badly (remember Rick Warren at the inauguration?), but they keep coming back—not that Republicans are offering a viable alternative, God knows.
This case offers Congress the wimpiest, squishiest gay marriage test vote imaginable. Just little old D.C. recognizing marriages performed elsewhere. The people's representatives in the city have already spoken. All they're looking for is approval of a decision already made by a democratically elected body. Democrats have a crushing majority in Congress. But I'll eat my fanciful Derby Day hat if congressional Democrats come through and do right by this faithful constituency. So where will that leave gay politics? The country's views are changing dramatically on this issue, but Democrats still sound almost as conservative as Republicans. Maybe I'm too pessimistic. Can gays in D.C. hope for change? And, if I'm wrong, I'll joyously throw a chapeau dinner party. Does anyone have a good hat recipe, just in case?
More on the momentum of gay marriage in America here. I'm sympathetic to the proposals to get the government out of the marriage business altogether, too. But sometimes you have to take what you can get.
Bonus: A classic Marion Barry moment in the Washington Post story:
D.C. Council Votes 12-1 to Recognize Other States' Gay Marriages
UPDATE 2: After further debate, a second vote was taken, with D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) deciding to vote against the proposal. The final count is 12-1 in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.
UPDATE: D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) has now asked that the gay marriage bill be reconsidered. He didn't realize what he was voting on before.
He just gave a speech saying he is going to vote against it so it won't be unanimous vote. The council is now debating the bill.