Two Major Wins In Washington DC For Gay Rights

A repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was introduced in the Senate on the same day Washington, D.C. became the latest place for same sex couples to marry.

In Congress, Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced a bill to repeal the controversial ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in the US military. President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen have all expressed their support to end the law, which prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. It was enacted in 1993 during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2010  has already been introduced in the House of Representatives and has 189 co-sponsors.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Gates released details of a 10-month review of the law that would include input from military members and their families and help determine changes to policies, laws and military training.

Meanwhile, same sex couples lined up at the D.C. courthouse.

John Bogan and his partner, Dan Speck, have been waiting 27 years to tie the knot.

“I never thought we’d see it in our lifetimes,” Bogan said.

They can now join the ranks of marriage in D.C., which, legally, offers hospital visitation rights and spousal health benefits and more.

Expecting the surge in marriage applications, the courthouse hired temporary workers to keep up with demand.

Carol and Jodi Benavie moved to the District just for marriage rights. Politically active, Jodi says they made a big sacrifice: taxation without representation.

“We gave up our representation in Congress in order to have rights as a couple,” Benavie said.

Neighboring Maryland recently began recognizing marriages from other places.  Same sex couples will be legally married in most of the Washington metro area. If they cross the river to Virginia, those rights fall away.

D.C. has joined the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and for a brief time, California to offer equal marriage. California no longer administers same sex marriage after a voter referendum overturned it.

This monumental day comes in D. C. after the city council first recognized gay marriage from other jurisdictions. Shortly after, the council went further and voted in favor of extending the right to D.C residents.

Congress is able to overturn any D.C. law, but the Democratic run Congress chose not to intervene. Opponents asked for a stay from the Supreme Court. At the 11th hour, Chief Justice John Roberts denied the request and said the only way to overturn is through a voter referendum.

Not all DC residents are pleased. Catholic Charities has stopped providing benefits to spouses of new employees to avoid providing them to same sex couples.
Follow Leigh Ann Caldwell on Twitter and hear an audio version of this story on FSRN.


5 Responses to Two Major Wins In Washington DC For Gay Rights

  1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Inspired in Baghdad
    March 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    This is truly a beautiful day in our history and those pictures have me very excited for what is to come!

  2. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1stdslove
    March 3, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Gay marriage

    My concern is that more and more gay men get STD. It seems that gay men is easier to get an STD.
    According to the report from the largest STD dating site == ==(if I spell the site correctly), the gay subscribers
    increased continually. Most of them are sexy.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Jack Frapp
    March 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Well the way I see it is that they have every right to live their life any way they want. You only get one shot, do what makes you happy!


  4. Vote -1 Vote +1uggs online
    March 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Hey, there I am impressed the way you have gathered and articulated
    such information, it was a nice read.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Jack Robertson
    March 6, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Headline should have read:
    Two Major Losses In Washington DC For Morality and Righteousness