The D.C. council held its final vote Tuesday on a marriage equality bill, passing it by a wide margin. Mayor Adrian Fenty has pledged to sign the bill, which will go into effect this spring.
The bill passed the council by a vote of 11-2, identical to the vote in November. After Fenty signs the bill, it will have to withstand a 30-day congressional review period.
“I have been making laws on behalf of the citizens of this city for 12 years, and until now, have never been a fully enfranchised citizen,” council member David Catania, the lead sponsor of this bill, said during today’s vote. He thanked several colleagues and gay rights activists who helped him get this bill passed.
Council member Kwame R. Brown also made a passionate speech in support of the bill, pointing out that he has a mother who disagrees with him on the issue — and said as much in TheWashington Post. He said this vote is for the "unborn— future generations who will benefit.
Council member and former Washington mayor Marion Barry ran down his longtime support of LGBT rights before casting a no vote on the marriage bill, saying, “I’m not voting not against the LGBT community, I’m voting no against this particular act.”
Barry says he supports domestic partnerships and will continue to stand behind LGBT citizens, but says it was a difficult “decision of conscience” that led him to disagree.
Barry commended Catania twice during the vote and even acknowledged that this must be “a proud moment” for him.
Council member Yvette Alexander also voted no on the bill, but she thanked Catania and the LGBT community for continuing to stand with her despite this "difficult" decision. "We all have to be tolerant ... and we need to be open to some of the changes," Alexander said, before reaffirming her no vote.
In recent days, “the only suspense... has been about whether the council would consider amendments the bill to try to assuage some of the concerns the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has raise about the proposal,” reported the Post. “Under the bill, church officials are already exempt from having to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies or celebrations. But if gay couples are allowed to marry, church officials worry Catholic Charities would be forced to extend spousal benefits and adoption services to same-sex couples."
Some 350 marriage equality supporters rallied on Monday night in D.C., where the mood was celebratory. Watch the video below from NBC.