- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

A District of Columbia lawmaker will introduce legislation next week to legalize same-sex marriage in the city.

The bill comes from D.C. Council member David A. Catania, an independent who is openly gay.

The bill has support from nine of the city’s 13 council members. However, it likely will set up a showdown with Congress, which has authority over most laws passed in the District of Columbia.

“In my opinion, states, including the District, which determine marriage laws in the United States, are better served by promoting and enhancing marriage between committed partners regardless of gender,” Mr. Catania said.

Mr. Catania made the announcement Wednesday night before a group of activists from the city’s gay and lesbian community and plans to introduce the legislation Tuesday.

In May, the D.C. Council passed a law that acknowledges same-sex marriages performed in other states. The only dissenting vote was cast by council member Marion Barry, a Democrat and the city’s enigmatic former mayor. He cited the strong opposition in the city’s faith community. The law went into effect in July after Congress declined to intervene.

Mr. Catania’s bill provides that churches or members of the clergy shall not be required to perform or recognize a marriage that runs counter to their religious beliefs or teachings.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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