District of Columbia

STATUS:

Marriage

WINNING MARRIAGE:

On December 18, 2009, Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a marriage bill that ended the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage after it twice passed by an overwhelming majority of City Council members. As of March 3, 2010, following a Congressional Review period, same-sex couples in the District of Columbia can now apply for a marriage license. The Superior Court of DC Marriage Bureau Section and District of Columbia Office of GLBT Affairs has more information on how to get married in Washington, D.C.

HISTORY:

On May 20, 2009, Mayor Fenty and the D.C. Council approved the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act, which ensures that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples are respected and treated equally under law. The law took effect on July 20, 2009.

In 1992, the District City Council passed a domestic partnership law, which offered a few - less than 8 of 212 in the D.C. code - protections and responsibilities to same-sex couples and their families. The U.S. Congress blocked this law from taking effect until 2002. Over the years, the domestic partnership law was expanded to include all of the same protections and responsibilities that marriage provides (referred to as broad domestic partnership), but not the equality that only comes with marriage.

State advocacy groups and a very active grassroots community of supporters continue to work to protect marriage.

GROUPS THAT ACTIVELY WORKED ON MARRIAGE:

  • Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance is a local, all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization fighting for the civil rights of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals.
  • DC for Marriage is an emerging group of local residents working toward equal rights and responsibilities for same-sex couples in the District of Columbia.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

POLLING DATA:

In our nation's capital, 56% of residents supported marriage for same-sex couples in January 2010, shortly after Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the freedom to marry into law. (The Washington Post, January 2010 

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 4,822 same-sex couples are living in the District of Columbia, representing 18.1 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

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