Washington D.C. may be the next destination for same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses as openly gay city council member David Catania moves forward with plans to introduce the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 next Tuesday.
The Washington Post reports:
Catania made his announcement before 150 gay rights activists gathered in Shaw for a rally featuring the Rev. Eric P. Lee, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
"We are going to do it now," Catania told the crowd. "We are going to do it now, not for ourselves, but for the young people who are 20 years-old, 16-years-old, 13-years-old."
According to a copy of the bill, the city code would be changed to state "marriage is the legally recognized union of two people" and "any person ... may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender." Catania's bill, which states religious organizations and officials have the right not to participate in same-sex marriages, is expected to pass the council easily when it comes up for a vote around Thanksgiving.
Rev. Eric Lee, who has proven to be a "fierce advocate" for the LGBT community and marriage equality by his deeds and not just his words outlined 5 basic tenets for the marriage equality movement to follow: "education, for the purpose of organization, for the purpose of mobilization, for the purpose of agitation, for the purpose of transformation... in societal attitudes" toward LGBT citizens and same-sex relationships.
Rev. Lee faced disciplinary action in July from members within the SCLC for his opposition to the discriminatory Proposition 8 amendment that banned gay marriage in California.
In rebuttal to marriage opponents who seek to fracture D.C. along racial and religious lines, Lee invoked the powerful words of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Lee offered the perfect segue for pending marriage equality legislation with a rousing declaration that "the burden of discrimination is on those who are discriminating... Make the oppressor defend their discrimination! Make them look you in the eye. Make them engage you with respect."
D.C. already recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, but achieving marriage equality in D.C. with an overwhelmingly African-American population will be monumental and a challenge to the myth that all blacks are against civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
It's predicted that the bill would successfully pass the City Council and a solid majority of D.C. citizens would support its passage.