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D.C. council
approves domestic-partnership law

D.C. council
approves domestic-partnership law

The Washington, D.C., city council on Tuesday passed a far-reaching domestic-partnership law extending rights and protections to the city's gay and lesbian couples. Now it's up to the mayor and Congress to bring the law to fruition.

In a unanimous first-reading vote, the 13-member council voted to expand the current legal recognition of D.C. gay couples to include rights of inheritance as well as obligation to pay alimony and child support. At a second and final reading on December 20, the council and Democratic D.C. mayor Anthony Williams are expected to approve the measure. Next the bill would go before Congress for a 30-day review period and, if not vetoed, would become law.

The bill's advance was lauded by Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "Basic rights such as the ability to make medical decisions in emergencies and inheritance are key to the security and stability of same-sex families and we're pleased that the D.C. council recognizes this," said Huckaby. "But now it is the responsibility of Congress to follow the will of the residents of D.C. and allow this legislation to pass."

The proposed domestic-partnership law would provide some of the strongest legal protections for gay and unmarried couples in the nation, with only Vermont, Connecticut, and California surpassing its reach. (

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