The City Council Members who support marriage equality are: Vincent Gray (D-At-Large), Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), David Catania (I-At-Large), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). (click here for a larger image)
Reprinted below is the question posed by GLAA and the answers from the nine city council members.
Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
Vincent Gray (D-At-Large): Yes. Unfortunately, the District of Columbia Government and its Citizens do not have the final say on the legal recognition of marriage between partners of the same sex in the District of Columbia. As Chairman, I will work with my colleagues, GLAA and other GLBT advocates to determine the best course of action to achieve equality for GLBT relationships.
Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large): Yes. I support legalization of same-sex marriages and support GLAA’s strategy of moving carefully to achieve this goal. This has been my position since my first campaign in 1996. I was also a co-introducer of Resolution 15-514, the "Sense of the Council on Opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment Resolution of 2004" opposing the amendment to write discrimination into the Constitution. When the community leaders agree that the time is right to try to pass full marriage rights, I will be happy to introduce the legislation and work for its passage. I will not support grandstanding or symbolic gestures on the issue that may set us back or result in restrictions on the domestic partnership program.
David Catania (I-At-Large): Yes. While I strongly support legalizing marriage between partners of the same sex, the District’s unique status means that we must be mindful of the potential for Congressional meddling on this issue. A single, comprehensive bill would likely invite such interference. With that said, I have worked hard to expand the legal rights of domestic partners. My record in this area includes the following:
- I co-sponsored the “Domestic Partnership Equality Act of 2006,” which granted domestic partners similar rights and responsibilities currently held by spousal couples in the areas of spousal immunity, inheritance, surviving spouses and children, spousal support, and public assistance.
- I co-sponsored and voted for the “Health Care Benefits Expansion Amendment Act of 2006,” which allowed District domestic partner and his or her family member(s) to match the amount paid by employees in spousal relationships.
- I supported the “Domestic Partner Health Care Benefits Tax Exemption Act of 2005,” which allows the domestic partners of District Government employees to exempt the city’s contribution to their health insurance from their taxable income.
- As part of the "Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Support Act", I authored a change to the "Funeral Services Regulatory Amendment Act of 2001," which placed domestic partners the right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the ability to determine the location and conditions of interment, and the authority to make arrangements for funeral goods and services.
Jack Evans (D-Ward 2): Yes. As you know, I was the first elected official in the District to support marriage rights for same sex couples. I am poised to introduce and champion such legislation whenever it becomes strategically possible, working in consultation with the community, to move forward on such legislation. With respect to efforts at the federal level to alter the Constitution, I led the Council's response with Councilmember Catania to pass R 15-514, the "Sense of the Council on Opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment Resolution of 2004". I was very proud that David and I got all 13 members of the Council to co-introduce this legislation.
Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3): Yes. I think that securing equal rights for GLBT members of the community is the great civil rights issue of our time. There must be equal rights across the board. And that is not only my political position, but it is my judgment as a constitutional law teacher as well. And the fact that members of the U.S. Supreme Court may disagree does not diminish the force of the legal arguments in favor of that position, which I believe will prevail one day.
Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4): Yes. I believe this is a matter of fairness and equality. If the District passes such a measure, I will lobby against any attempt by Congress or the federal government to overturn it. The District of Columbia must be allowed to choose its own direction on this issue without interference from the federal government.
Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5): Yes.
Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). I support and will fight for full legal recognition of marriages by partners of the same sex.
City Council Members Carol Schwartz, Kwame Brown, and Yvette Alexander, do not support full marriage equality for same sex couples in the District of Columbia. City Council Member Marion Barry did not answer the question.