Where They Stand: D.C. Officials on Defending Gay Families

Where They Stand:
D.C. Officials on Defending Gay Families

Compiled by the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Updated June 27, 2008


(Click on official's name to see detailed responses to GLAA questionnaires.)

OfficialSupport
Marriage Equality?
Support
Domestic Partners?
Recognize Out-of-State
Relationships?
Mayor Adrian FentyYYY
D.C. Council Chairman Vincent GrayYYY
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Carol SchwartzYYY
At-Large D.C. Councilmember David CataniaYYY
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Phil MendelsonYYY
At-Large D.C. Councilmember Kwame BrownYYY
Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Jim GrahamYYY
Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack EvansYYY
Ward 3 D.C. Councilmember Mary ChehYYY
Ward 4 D.C. Councilmember Muriel BowserYYY
Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Harry ThomasYYY
Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Tommy WellsYYY
Ward 7 D.C. Councilmember Yvette AlexanderNYY
Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Marion BarryYYY
Total D.C. Council "Yes" Votes121313

Note: While a majority of D.C. Council members supports marriage equality, several (including strong allies) have expressed caution about the timing of a marriage bill due to the power of the U.S. Congress over the District. GLAA shares this concern. We believe that several benchmarks should be achieved before D.C. proceeds with a marriage bill, including legislative and budgetary autonomy for the District and adoption and preservation of marriage equality by several additional states. Our views are discussed at
www.glaa.org/archive/2007/agenda2007.shtml#partIV
and
www.metroweekly.com/gauge/commentary.php?ak=2586



Mayor Adrian Fenty (D)


Mayoral questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/mqfenty.shtml

16. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I support full civil marriage between partners of the same sex. My position has not changed since I ran for my first term as Ward 4 councilmember: same sex marriage is a question of fairness and equality.

I will be working with DC Vote and other organizations for the freedom to enact our laws based on the needs and desires of the people of the District not the Congress.. I will work closely with GLAA and other GLBT organizations in the District to determine what our legislative strategies will be as we move to full civil marriage right for same sex couples in the District.

17. Will your Administration publicize and enforce the recently enacted laws that have significantly expanded the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners?

Yes. I supported the recently enacted laws that have given our GLBT community more rights and expanded the rights of domestic partners. My administration will make sure that these new laws are publicized and that those living in the District will be made aware of the rights they have if they register as domestic partners. I will hold a press briefing on these new laws and other issues of importance to the GLBT community that will include our community newspapers such as the Washington Blade and Metro Weekly, the InTowner and the Hill Rag among others as well as using the city’s website and every other potential news outlet to get this information out to the community.

I will also make sure that the meetings of the LGBT office and their advisory Board are announced to the community, with proper notice, so that people may find out what that office is doing.

18. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. My administration will work with GLAA and other GLBT groups, as well as the DC Council and particularly the Chair of the Council’s Judiciary Committee, to make sure that we continue to expand the rights and responsibilities of our domestic partnership program until we can pass our own same-sex civil marriage law. That must be our long term goal but until that time I will move in tandem with the community to continue to add the rights that those legally married in the District now have to our domestic partner program.

19. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes. We have in the District of Columbia one of the highest percentages of gay families to our total population that any other city in the nation. We have over 5% of couples households in the District that identify as gay or lesbian.

GLAA completed a report that identified 212 rights and responsibilities under the DC marriage laws and the US Government Accountability Office has said there are 1,138 rights, benefits and privileges related to marriage under federal law. I support moving forward with the Community in identifying additional rights and responsibilities that we can add to our domestic partnership program.

I am also supportive of recognizing the rights and responsibilities given to these relationships in other states when those couples move to the District of Columbia. This will make DC a more attractive place to move to and one of our goals is to increase our population and our tax base. Having said this I understand the relationship we have with the Congress and I will not take any actions, without full consultation and the support of the GLBT community in the District, that would provoke a retaliatory response by those in Congress who would spread their rampant homophobia and use their control over the District to do that.

Council questionnaire, 2004
www.glaa.org/archive/2004/cqfenty.shtml

10. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I am on record as supporting same-sex marriage. In March 2004 the entire Council co-introduced the "Sense of the Council on Opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment Resolution of 2004." That same month I was one of 10 Councilmembers to co-introduce the "Sense of the Council on Recognition of Same Sex Marriages Lawfully Performed in Other States Resolution of 2004." I see no reason to discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation, whether the issue is legal status, employment, education, or any other life arena.

11. Will you support legislation in the District to expand the domestic partner program to include all of the relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Absolutely. The imbalance between rights accorded to legally married individuals as compared to those in legally recognized domestic partnerships is staggering. Although the Council continues to add to the benefits of domestic partnerships - most recently by unanimously enacting the "Deed Recordation Tax and Related Amendments Amendment Act of 2004," which ensures that domestic partners can inherit real property, and the "Health-Care Decisions Act of 2003" which allows domestic partners to make healthcare decisions for their incapacitated partners - it would be far easier to accord all the rights and responsibilities at once instead of the piecemeal approach that has been taken.

12. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships established in other jurisdictions?

I am on record as one of 10 Councilmembers who supported the Sense of the Council legislation to recognize same-sex marriages in March, 2004. District residents lack some of the basic rights afforded to other citizens of the United States - namely full votes in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and I see no reason to deny yet more rights to some of our residents.

Council questionnaire, 2000
www.glaa.org/archive/2000/cqfenty.shtml

14. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes.

15. Will you agree that the District should recognize the same-sex civil unions established in Vermont or other jurisdictions?

Yes. I believe the District should establish civil unions and domestic partnership laws for all couples desiring recognition of the state of a specific union.

16. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes. I believe the District should establish civil unions and domestic partnerships laws for all couples desiring recognition of the state of a specific union.

17. Will you support the well-established decision by D.C. Courts, which recognize the right of unmarried couples to adopt children jointly?

Of course. The District has too many uncared-for children, while at the same-time having many same-sex couples with the desire and capacity to give the love of a family to these children. I support the Mayor's adoption initiative whole-heartedly.



Council Chairman Vincent Gray (D-At-Large)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqgray.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. Unfortunately, the District of Columbia Government and its Citizens do not have the final say on the legal recognition of marriage between partners of the same sex in the District of Columbia. As Chairman, I will work with my colleagues, GLAA and other GLBT advocates to determine the best course of action to achieve equality for GLBT relationships.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. I was a cosponsor of the Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2006 which extended such rights as spousal immunity, inheritance, spousal support and survival benefits to gay and lesbian couples. I will continue to work towards fairness and equality.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes, as on the issue of marriage itself 1 will work with my colleagues, GLAA and other GLBT advocates to determine the best course of action. While it is important to recognize the legal rights of those from other jurisdictions who may move here, my first priority is to protect the rights and the legislative actions of the citizens of the District of Columbia.

Council questionnaire, 2004

(Candidate did not respond to GLAA questionnaire.)



Councilmember Carol Schwartz (R-At-Large)


Column in The Washington Blade, May 30, 2008
http://www.washingtonblade.com/2008/5-30/view/columns/12656.cfm

"Do I oppose same-sex marriage? No. Do I have any personal, moral or religious issues with same-sex marriage? Absolutely not. But was I willing yesterday — or am I willing today — to risk sacrificing our hard-fought domestic partnership laws, which took 10 long years for Congress to allow us to implement? Again, the answer is no. Will tomorrow be better? Yes, I believe it will, and I certainly intend to help that day along....

"Make no mistake: a reasoned strategy will be needed in this town more than anywhere else because of our federal overlords. And we must recognize that on this issue there are lots of them, and they can be found in both political parties (albeit — and regrettably — much more so in mine). So it is incumbent upon all of us — Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Statehood/Green and others — who care about this important civil rights issue to work together to develop that reasoned and winning strategy.

"During my career as an elected official, which now spans four decades, I have been loyal to, and protective of, the GLBT community. These are individuals who are not only my constituents, but who are also among my dearest friends. That loyalty and protectiveness will continue to pervade my thinking on this and every issue. When the day comes, and I hope it is very soon, I will be there — as always."

Council questionnaire, 2004
www.glaa.org/archive/2004/cqschwartz.shtml

10. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I support civil unions with all the rights and responsibilities of marriage. I realize, of course, that for many in the Gay and Lesbian community, this is no longer the most desirable position for elected officials to hold. Nevertheless, I feel that in the District of Columbia, the most likely prospect for bringing about the granting of marital rights and responsibilities in the near future to Gay and Lesbian couples is through civil unions. Given the unique and oftentimes maddening structural relationship we have with the Congress of the United States, it is, I believe, simply the most pragmatic and expedient approach.

As I said in my response to a similar question in the 2000 GLAA questionnaire, in the District, with the many unfair obstacles we must overcome as a result of Congress's veto power over our laws, I feel fairly certain that any attempt we make to legally recognize marriages between partners of the same sex would be swiftly shot down and that the issue would be used by unsupportive members of Congress to bash the District and curry political favor at home. I worry that congressional interference in this area would create a hurdle that would significantly limit the District's ability to consider this issue.

I would be neither surprised nor displeased, however, if Gay and Lesbian couples are able to be married here and in many of the states in the not-too-distant future.

11. Will you support legislation in the District to expand the domestic partner program to include all of the relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. I support the granting under District of Columbia law the more than 200 local rights and responsibilities, as delineated by GLAA in the comprehensive report it published this spring. If an expansion in the domestic partnership program proves to be the best way to achieve this, then I will wholeheartedly support such an expansion.

12. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes. However, the District must be cautious in its approach on the issue of legal recognition of marriages performed elsewhere as well. It would be a shame if our efforts to recognize marriages performed in other jurisdictions led to action by Congress which would impede progress toward providing greater equality to all our Gay and Lesbian couples as they seek to gain benefits. It is my hope that the loving, stable and committed relationships of any two people are valued, honored and respected under the law not only elsewhere, but here as well.

Mayoral questionnaire, 2002
www.glaa.org/archive/2002/mqschwartz.shtml

10. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Stable relationships characterized by love and mutual support should be legally recognized. In the District, with the many unfair obstacles we must overcome as a result of Congress's veto power over our laws, I feel fairly certain that any attempt we make to legally recognize marriages between partners of the same sex would be swiftly shot down, and that the issue would be used - gleefully and contemptuously - by unsupportive members of Congress to bash the District and curry political favor at home. I worry that congressional interference in this area would create a hurdle that would significantly limit the District's ability to consider this issue in the future. In fact, during the recent negotiations over the District's budget, when once again I was lobbying on the Hill to keep our domestic partnership law intact, a Congressman asked me to try to get the Councilmembers to pledge that they would not vote to legalize marriages between partners of the same sex. I refused. I do not, in my heart, oppose legal recognition of same sex unions and would not stand in the way of my colleagues making their own decisions on this matter. I simply feel, at this time, the most politically astute approach here in the District would be to protect what we finally have and work on strengthening domestic partnership laws as a means of eventually achieving legal recognition of same-sex unions.

My record of support for domestic partnership rights has been consistent and longstanding. For example, in 2000 I wrote to every member of the House and Senate, urging them to oppose inclusion of language in the 2001 District of Columbia Appropriations Bill that would continue to prohibit the District from enforcing its domestic partnership law. I pointed out to them that since the District enacted the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act in 1992, at least 35 U.S. cities, ten counties and five states, as well as at least 80 Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of smaller businesses, have devised and implemented some form of domestic partnership benefits. Now that the District can, at long last, enforce its domestic partnership statute, I will continue to promote stable relationships by advocating for meaningful partnership laws with all inherent rights and responsibilities.

11. Will you support legislation similar to Vermont's creating Civil Unions -- for same-sex and opposite-sex couples -- having all of the rights and responsibilities of Marriage that are offered by the District?

Legislation in Vermont came about as a result of action from its Supreme Court, which guided the state legislature in its actions. Having the benefit of a judicial ruling would better ensure passage of such legislation in the District. Under such a scenario, I would endorse legislation similar to Vermont's civil unions law. As Mayor, I would look forward to meeting with representatives of the gay and lesbian community to examine the various strategies by which this could move forward.

12. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?

Yes. While I believe that the implementation of the existing domestic partnership regulations has enabled us to implement a basically good law, I support amending the regulations so as to recognize those couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's Directive. They should be amended to allow existing registrants - so long as they are still together in a domestic partnership relationship - to indicate, within a certain amount of time, whether they wish to finalize their registration, and to do so without any additional fees.

13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?

Consistent with the principles of full faith and credit, we should recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions, both in the United States and abroad. Current District law accords full faith and credit to marriages contracted in all of the states. And, of course, I will oppose efforts in Congress or elsewhere to force the District to deny full faith and credit to same-sex marriages recognized in any state. Several years ago, the case of Clarke, et al v. USA, to which I was a party, established that when Congress legislates for the District of Columbia, Congress is still bound by constitutional limitations and guidelines. I believe it would be unconstitutional for Congress to attempt to force the District to deny full faith and credit to legal marriages or domestic partnerships from any state.

Council questionnaire, 2000
www.glaa.org/archive/2000/cqschwartz.shtml

14. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Stable relationships characterized by love and mutual support should be legally recognized. In the District, with the many unfair obstacles we must overcome as a result of Congress's veto power over our laws, I feel fairly certain that any attempt we make to legally recognize marriages between partners of the same sex would be swiftly shot down, and that the issue would be used - gleefully and contemptuously - by unsupportive members of Congress to bash the District and curry political favor at home. I worry that congressional interference in this area would create a hurdle that would significantly limit the District's ability to consider this issue in the future. My record of support for domestic partnership rights has been consistent and longstanding, and I think that the best strategy at this time would be to secure - unimpeded by Congress - legal recognition of domestic partnership rights for our citizens.

Earlier this year, I wrote to every member of the House and Senate, urging them to oppose inclusion of language in the 2001 District of Columbia Appropriations Bill that would continue to prohibit the District from enforcing its domestic partnership law (see attachment #2). I pointed out to them that since the District enacted the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act in 1992, at least 35 U.S. cities, ten counties and five states, as well as at least 80 Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of smaller businesses, have devised and implemented some form of domestic partnership benefits. I will continue to promote stable relationships by advocating for meaningful domestic partnership laws with all inherent rights and responsibilities.

15. Will you agree that the District should recognize the same-sex civil unions established in Vermont or other jurisdictions?

Yes. To the extent our laws will allow, we should recognize same-sex civil unions established in Vermont and elsewhere.

16. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes. Legislation in Vermont came about as a result of action from its Supreme Court, which guided the state legislature in its actions. Having the benefit of a judicial ruling would better ensure passage of such legislation in the District. Under such a scenario, I would endorse legislation similar to Vermont's civil unions law.

17. Will you support the well-established decision by D.C. Courts, which recognize the right of unmarried couples to adopt children jointly?

Yes. I support the District's policy on adoptions and have actively lobbied Congress on this matter. Two years ago, in fact, I - along with others - successfully got a congressional rider deleted in Committee that would have prohibited Gay and Lesbian couples from adopting children. It is my long-standing conviction that sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining whether someone should be awarded custody of a child, or whether someone should be allowed to adopt a child. On a personal level, I have been fortunate to know many Gay and Lesbian couples who are loving and wonderful parents. To deny a child such an opportunity would be a tragedy.

Mayoral questionnaire, 1998
www.glaa.org/archive/1998/mq98schwartz.shtml

17. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I support same-sex relationships that are characterized by love and mutual support, and will continue to defend DC's current Domestic Partnership Law, and will work to strengthen it. If I am Mayor and the community decides it wishes to pursue this legislation, you can be assured that I will consider it with the same open mind that you know me to have.

18. Will you lobby Congress to overturn the current Congressional restrictions on the District's funding of the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992?

Yes. I believe in local autonomy, and as I stated above in the answer to question #14, I have been lobbying the Congress against the inclusion of these riders in our annual appropriation bill. The DC Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 was passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor, unfortunately, we have never been able to implement it, even with our own local funds. Since then, I have been advocating before the Congress to allow us to use our own funds. As Mayor, and as a Republican, I probably can be the best advocate to convince the Congress to overturn the prohibition.

19. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court ruling, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples? Will you actively resist Congressional efforts to outlaw such adoptions in the District?

Yes, I do support the District's policy on adoptions and have actively lobbied Congress on this matter. (See answer to question #14). I believe that everyone must be treated fairly and equally, and have not been afraid to tell the Congress so. Sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining whether someone should be awarded custody of a child who needs a loving and nurturing home. In every instance there needs to be a thorough background check for all wishing to adopt, and what is in the best interest of the child should be the determining factor. In my personal life I have witnessed many same-sex couples who have adopted children together, and have felt the love and commitment that characterizes these families.

Council questionnaire, 1996
www.glaa.org/archive/1996/schwartz.shtml

1. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between persons of the same-sex?

While I support same-sex relationships that are characterized by love and mutual support, I remain undecided on the issue of marriage. I will continue to defend DC's current Domestic Partnership Law which I voted for when I was on the Council, and will work to strengthen it, and make certain it survives a hostile Congress. Lesbian and gay couples have a right to the same governmental benefits and opportunities currently provided to heterosexual couples.

2. Will you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to stop the District of Columbia from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in Hawaii or other places?

Yes. Current D.C. Law accords full faith and credit to marriages contracted in all of the states. I will oppose efforts in Congress or elsewhere to force the District to deny full faith and credit to same-sex marriages recognized in any state. The case of Clarke, et al v. USA, to which I was a party, established that when Congress legislates for the District of Columbia, Congress is still bound by constitutional limitations and guidelines. I believe it would be unconstitutional for Congress to attempt to force the District to deny full faith and credit to legal marriages from any state.

3. Do you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to outlaw or restrict adoptions by unmarried couples in the District of Columbia?

Yes. Everyone must be treated fairly and equally. I believe that sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining whether someone can be a responsible and loving parent. However, I do believe in thorough background checks for all.

4. If Congress ever repeals the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 that established the registration of domestic partnerships, will you vote to reenact the same law?

Yes. I would oppose any repeal of the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act which exclude solely domestic partners. While Congress has certain duties and responsibilities with regard to the District, it should not attempt to impose its will on the citizens of D.C.



Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqcatania.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. While I strongly support legalizing marriage between partners of the same sex, the District’s unique status means that we must be mindful of the potential for Congressional meddling on this issue. A single, comprehensive bill would likely invite such interference. With that said, I have worked hard to expand the legal rights of domestic partners. My record in this area includes the following:

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes.

Council questionnaire, 2002
www.glaa.org/archive/2002/cqcatania.shtml

11. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I share GLAA's concerns about the consequences of introducing legislation on this subject in the District.

Notwithstanding my support for the legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex, certain religions oppose this position. I believe very strongly in the notion that no religious institution should be required to perform such a service in violation of its views.

12. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes. With the recent implementation of the District's Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, we now have an opportunity to expand the scope of the legislation. I will support legislation similar to Vermont's civil union law. I believe that a single comprehensive expansion of our law will invite Congressional interference, however. I favor an incremental approach that accomplishes this goal. I have already started this process, albeit in a very small way.

As part of the "Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Support Act", I authored a change to the "Funeral Services Regulatory Amendment Act of 2001," which placed domestic partners on equal footing with a surviving spouse for purposes of the Act. Among other things, this Act determines, unless other directions are given by the decedent, the right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the location and conditions of interment, and arrangements for funeral goods and services.

13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?

Yes. I did not object to the implementation of the existing domestic partnership regulations because I feared that a further delay would jeopardize our ability to implement the legislation. However, I fully support legislation that would recognize those couples who registered under Mayor Kelley's Directive.

14. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?

Yes.

Council questionnaire, 1998
www.glaa.org/archive/1998/cq98catania.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. The government should encourage the formation of stable families. If two individuals of the same sex choose to form a family, the government should permit a civil marriage to occur. However, I do not support requiring religious institutions to provide the actual service.

12. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court rule, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples?

Yes. During the recent Congressional debate on the District's Authorization Bill, my staff and I met with Republicans on the Hill and encouraged them to permit the District's policy to continue. In addition, I testified before the House D.C Subcommittee to urge them to pass the D.C Budget without adding the adoption prohibition. You can be assured that I will work with the Congress to ensure the current House position on adoption does not become law. In my opinion, the best interests of the child should guide the issue of adoption. Placing children in stable homes with loving care-providers should be the primary goal of any adoption system.



Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqmendelson.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I support legalization of same-sex marriages and support GLAA’s strategy of moving carefully to achieve this goal. This has been my position since my first campaign in 1996. I was also a co-introducer of Resolution 15-514, the "Sense of the Council on Opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment Resolution of 2004" opposing the amendment to write discrimination into the Constitution. When the community leaders agree that the time is right to try to pass full marriage rights, I will be happy to introduce the legislation and work for its passage. I will not support grandstanding or symbolic gestures on the issue that may set us back or result in restrictions on the domestic partnership program.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. I have voted for all nine domestic partnership expansion bills that have passed so far, and I wrote and passed the Domestic Partnership Equality Act of 2005 (DCEA). GLAA President Christopher Neff in presenting the Distinguished Service Award to me, said that the DCEA “…is a collective triumph, an acceleration of the incremental progress we have worked on these past years.” I added domestic partnership rights and responsibilities to the Omnibus Public Safety Act of 2006. I also recently held a hearing on the Domestic Partnership Adoption Equality Act of 2006 and Domestic Partnership Property Equity Act of 2006, and am working on marking up those bills this October. I will continue working with GLAA on incrementally and quietly expanding the domestic partnership program.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes. Couples should not need to worry if their rights will be respected as they travel from state-to-state or to and from the District. However, this will need to be done carefully, so as not to cause a set-back in the rights that we already have. I will work with GLAA and other community leaders to develop a strategy to move us forward and introduce legislation when appropriate.

Council questionnaire, 2002
www.glaa.org/archive/2002/cqmendelson.shtml

11. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. This has been my position since my first campaign. I will support legalization of same-sex marriages and do support GLAA's strategy of incremental steps that include protecting existing DC law that recognizes all marriages performed in other states.

12. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes, I will support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil union law - making all the provisions of marriage available without regard to the sex of the couple entering into civil marriage.

13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?

Yes. In fact I have already written Mayor Williams asking that the regulations be amended to recognize the registrations "lost" in 1999.

14. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?

Yes. Just as our law requires that we recognize marriages performed in other states, our domestic partnership regulations should recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions - to protect visitors in case of injury or illness while in DC and for other reasons.

Council questionnaire, 1998
www.glaa.org/archive/1998/cq98mendelson.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. Civil marriage has many very tangible economic and social benefits which help promote stability in our society and which would promote stable relationships within the Gay & Lesbian community. I will oppose Congressional interference in this matter.

12. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court ruling, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples?

Yes. Here, too, I will oppose Congressional interference in this matter. Such interference is homophobic and offensive to Home Rule prerogatives. More importantly, they disre-gard our society's desperate need for caring and competent adoptive parents.

Council questionnaire, 1996
www.glaa.org/archive/1996/mendelso.shtml

1. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between persons of the same-sex?

Answer: "Yes. Marriage is a civil contract between individuals. As such there is no reason it should be restricted to persons of the opposite sex. However, I do not know whether the Washington community would support local legislation, should it be proposed, and such legislation should not be enacted without a public hearing. While I support same-sex marriage, I would not push enactment at this time if there were widespread opposition and divisiveness."



Councilmember Kwame Brown (D-At-Large)


Report in The Washington Blade, Oct. 19, 2007
http://washblade.com/2007/10-19/news/localnews/11416.cfm

"Washington City Councilmember Kwame Brown (D-At-Large) told members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Monday that he would 'definitely' vote for a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia if such a bill comes up for a vote. Brown’s comments supporting a same-sex marriage bill marked a change from the position he took during his 2004 election campaign.... Brown, who is running for re-election in 2008, said he remains 'uncomfortable' with same-sex marriage on personal and religious grounds. But he said, 'If it came up today, I would vote for it. That’s where I am today.' "

Council questionnaire, 2004
www.glaa.org/archive/2004/cqbrown.shtml

10. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Similar to John Kerry, I support civil unions. Like many in the GLBT community, I am hesitant to move too quickly on this issue for fear of provoking a response from Congressional Republicans and thereby losing some of the rights already achieved. My deeply religious beliefs lead me to personally believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. As a Councilmember, however, I will fight for the rights of every resident, regardless of sexual orientation, to enjoy the rights and privileges of every other city resident under the law.

11. Will you support legislation in the District to expand the domestic partner program to include all of the relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. No couple should be discriminated against in the eyes of the law because of their sexual orientation. Domestic partners should have all 212 rights and privileges associated with marriage.

12. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships established in other jurisdictions?

I believe in the rights established under the Constitution of the United States. I personally believe that the District should honor the full faith and credit of legal documents issued by the other fifty states, including marriage licenses, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. I simply can not see the legal justification for recognizing a Massachusetts driver's license but not a Massachusetts marriage license.



Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqgraham.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

YES. I HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY IN FAVOR OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE. I HAVE PRESSED FOR THE ISSUANCE OF THE DRAFT OPINION OF THE DC ATTORNEY GENERAL ON RECOGNITION ON THE VALIDITY IN DC OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES LEGALLY CONDUCTED ELSEWHERE. SADLY, IT HAS STILL NOT BEEN ISSUED.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

YES, WE HAVE DONE A GOOD JOB IN THIS REGARD. I WILL SUPPORT FURTHER EXPANSION. I AUTHORED THE LAW IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EXTENDING THE PROTECTION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT TO DOMESTIC PARTNERS. SEE EXHIBIT #1 BELOW.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

YES, I WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO ALTHOUGH I WOULD PREFER SAME SEX MARRIAGE.

Council questionnaire, 2002
www.glaa.org/archive/2002/cqgraham.shtml

11. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes.

12. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes.

13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?

Yes. I raised this issue in the hearing on the domestic partners rules. It is patently unfair to compel new applications with new fees for these individuals. The documents appear to have been lost due to DC Government inefficiency.

14. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?

Yes.

Council questionnaire, 1998
www.glaa.org/archive/1998/cq98graham.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. Civil marriage between partners of the same sex is one of the last barriers in our civil rights movement. I have long held that two people should have the right to declare their lifelong commitment to each other. In addition to the important benefits of mutual love, support and companionship, civil marriage has many very tangible economic and social benefits which will help promote stability in our society. All good things which lesbian & gay couples should certainly share in as equal citizens of our nation.

12. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court ruling, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples?

Wholeheartedly, Yes. More support is needed for adoptions of children in and by our community. Should there be restrictions of any type they should, of course, apply equally across the board, without regard to the sexual orientation of the prospective parents, nor to the notion that a piece of paper, recognizing the "legality of the relationship. Unlike Newt Gingrich, I believe that children belong in a loving home, rather than languishing in foster care or in institutions. Many couples, both straight as well as gay are now proving every day how capable they are to the most important task of raising children. I will work with the community to fight Congressional interference on this issue.



Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2)


Council questionnaire, 2004
www.glaa.org/archive/2004/cqevans.shtml

10. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. As you know, I was the first elected official in the District to support marriage rights for same sex couples. I am poised to introduce and champion such legislation whenever it becomes strategically possible, working in consultation with the community, to move forward on such legislation. With respect to efforts at the federal level to alter the Constitution, I led the Council's response with Councilmember Catania to pass R 15-514, the "Sense of the Council on Opposing a Federal Marriage Amendment Resolution of 2004". I was very proud that David and I got all 13 members of the Council to co-introduce this legislation.

11. Will you support legislation in the District to expand the domestic partner program to include all of the relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. I was the author and champion of Bill 15-462, the "Deed Recordation Tax and Related Amendments Act of 2004", which would expand various benefits to include domestic partners. I am glad to note this legislation is expected to become law on September 27, 2004. I was also a co-introducer of Bill 15-37, the "Health Care Decisions Act of 2003", which has since become law, as well as Bill 15-756, the "Health Care Benefits Expansion Amendment Act of 2004", which would mandate the District cover its share of the insurance premium, as it does for other families, for District employees who have domestic partners on their health insurance plans.

12. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes. The District should extend full faith and credit to legal marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships performed elsewhere. Some elements of this effort will require some strategic thinking on the District's part, given our relationship to the Congress, but we should move ahead nonetheless as appropriate.

Council questionnaire, 2000
www.glaa.org/archive/2000/cqevans.shtml

14. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. As one of the first elected officials in DC to support gay marriages and one of the leaders in the passage of the District's Domestic Partners legislation, I well know the importance of this issue. As I said in my 1996 GLAA candidate questionnaire: "I have always advocated for same-sex marriage as an important component in providing gay men and lesbians with equality of opportunity. For those couples who deem that marriage is right for them, they should receive the City's blessing, recognition, and advantages, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties constituting the couple." I stand by these comments 100%.

15. Will you agree that the District should recognize the same-sex civil unions established in Vermont or other jurisdictions?

Yes, see response to question 16 for more details.

16. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?

Yes. As a first step the District must move toward recognizing the civil unions which occurred this July in Vermont. Not only is it the right thing to do, but failing to do so will only result in a lengthy court battle. As we move toward recognition, we must also begin the arduous process of creating our own civil union process. True, given Congressional oversight, this will be a difficult venture. However, given the merits of this issue we must move forward. As such, my staff has already been in contact with your organization on this subject. I look forward to working soon with GLAA on advancing both of these issues.

17. Will you support the well-established decision by D.C. Courts, which recognize the right of unmarried couples to adopt children jointly?

Yes. We must recognize the right of unmarried couples and single individuals to adopt and we should move toward sanctioning simultaneous adoption for same-sex couples. With thousands of children in the D.C. foster care system, it is imperative we do all we can to encourage unmarried couples who choose to provide a loving environment. As such, I have loudly protested the all too frequent Congressional interference (such as the Largent amendment) on this issue.

Mayoral questionnaire, 1998
www.glaa.org/archive/1998/mq98evans.shtml

17. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I support legislation providing legal basis for same-sex unions and I have no problems telling this to every organization which I address - from the Ward 2 Democrats to GLAA to the Baptist Ministers Conference. As I said during my 1996 re-election campaign for the Council, marriage is an important component in providing gay men and lesbians with equality of opportunity. For those couples who deem that marriage is right for them, they should receive the City's blessing, recognition, and advantages, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties constituting the couple. Or, more simply put, this is a civil rights and human rights issue which must be addressed.

I would also like to comment on the position which the other major mayoral contenders have taken on this issue. Unfortunately, all of them have expressed their personal discomfort with the concept of same-sex marriage. One candidate has meekly proposed to sign legislation if it were to come to his desk. This is simply not good enough. Only a candidate with little knowledge of previous battles waged by the lesbian and gay community would suggest that it is sufficient for the mayor to merely agree to not veto a law if it reaches his desk. You must have an advocate for this issue. Just as I revived the decade-long struggle to overturn the District's antiquated sodomy laws and debated endlessly until we successfully passed the domestic partnership legislation, I will also be the advocate for this issue. If any candidate believes passing of same-sex legislation will merely require passive support, I urge them to talk with the membership of GLAA about some of the recent battles waged for gay and lesbian rights.

And, in response to those candidates who are naive enough to ask why hasn't this legislation already been introduced, I would like to simply remind them that organizations such as GLAA have, and will continue to be, working hand-in-hand with me and other locally elected supporters of this effort to ensure a timely introduction and successful promotion of this legislation.

18. Will you lobby Congress to overturn the current Congressional restrictions on the District's funding of the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992?

Of course. As many of you know, I was the co-author of the legislation which created the District's Domestic Partnership program. I worked extensively with the GLBT community to ensure passage of this legislation and, as recently as last week, continue to defend the validity of this program before less than receptive audiences. Since passage of the enabling legislation, I have worked with advocates in our unsuccessful attempts to prevent the annual Congressional defunding of this program. I have pledged to reintroduce the Domestic Partnership law if Congress repeals it.

Until full marital benefits are provided to all couples, we must work to expand those benefits offered under the Domestic Partnership program. With this in mind, I repeat my previous pledge to work with members of the GLBT community to draft a "Family Diversity Committee" which could further expand the foundation of this law.

19. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court ruling, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples? Will you actively resist Congressional efforts to outlaw such adoptions in the District?

Yes, I do support allowing adoptions by unmarried couples and I will actively resist Congressional efforts to outlaw such adoptions in the District. There are nearly 3,000 children in the D.C. foster care system. It is wrong to keep at risk and hard to place children away from a loving environment, particularly when one considers the countless failures and problems which plague the D.C. foster care system. The best interest of the child should always be the overriding factor in these decisions. I am disturbed Congress once again put its nose into the District affairs and passed the Largent amendment which would prohibit adoptions by any unmarried couples. As Mayor, I will work with the community to ensure simultaneous adoption for same-sex couples, and would be willing to work with GLAA and the community on drafting such a bill.

Council questionnaire, 1996
www.glaa.org/archive/1996/evans.shtml

1. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between persons of the same sex?

Yes. I have always advocated for same-sex marriage as an important component in providing gay men and lesbians with equality of opportunity. For those couples who deem that marriage is right for them, they should receive the City's blessing, recognition, and advantages, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties constituting the couple.

Currently there is a wall of homophobia which impedes our society. Certainly, legal recognition of same sex unions will be one of the most difficult parts of this wall to remove. Although I have championed legislation that benefits domestic partnerships, such as the "Health Benefits Expansion Act" and the "Human Remains Act," these provide only limited benefits. However, as we continue to make progress in the area of equitable benefits for same sex partners, we will continue to make a transition toward this final stage of recognition of lesbians and gays.

With this in mind, I feel we should create a "Family Diversity Commission." I feel such an entity could expand upon the foundation which has been provided by the "Health Benefits Expansion Act of 1992" and could be a vital force in trying to provide full benefits and rights for same sex partners.

2. Will you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to stop the District of Columbia from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in Hawaii or other places?

Yes. I would oppose any effort brought forth in the District Council or by Congress not to recognize the validity of same sex marriages performed elsewhere in light of the recent passage of the grotesquely named "Defense of Marriage Act." I believe strongly in the Full Faith and Credit clause of the United States Constitution, that if the state of Hawaii would recognize a same-sex marriage in their state, I would certainly be proud to do the same.

3. Do you oppose efforts by Congress or other parties to outlaw or restrict adoptions by unmarried couples in the District of Columbia?

Yes. I publicly applauded the recent court decision that allowed unmarried couples to adopt children jointly in the District. In this city, there are too many children sucked into the foster care system, who deserve a loving home. The best interest of the child should always be the overriding factor in these decisions. I was disturbed that Congress, once again, is putting its nose into the District affairs by saying that unmarried same-sex couples are not allowed to simultaneously adopt, this, after our courts have already approved such measures. I strongly support legislation that would allow the simultaneous adoption for same-sex couples, and would be willing to work with GLAA on drafting such a bill.

4. If Congress ever repeals the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 that established the registration of domestic partnerships, will you vote to reenact the same law?

Yes. I would proudly reintroduce legislation that I first introduced over four years ago, to support reenactment of the domestic partnership law if Congress repeals it. The legislation is ready to go, and I have already sent a memo to the Council stating that I will reintroduce the bill should Congress repeal the current law. It would be nothing short of a disgrace for Congress to overturn the current law, which in itself is only a first step in the effort to achieve full equality of opportunity for gay men and lesbians, and for other couples who are not married. Congress has no business interfering in this action of home-rule, and its interference would be magnified because it would be overturning an important, progressive step that reaches out to those living in alternative family arrangements.

As a member of the Domestic Partnership Committee, I am committed to continuing to fight for domestic partnership legislation, and to ensure the District's recognition of stable families, with or without a marriage license. With this in mind, I would like to work with members of the lesbian and gay community to draft a "Family Diversity Committee" which could further expand the foundation of this law.



Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqcheh.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I think that securing equal rights for GLBT members of the community is the great civil rights issue of our time. There must be equal rights across the board. And that is not only my political position, but it is my judgment as a constitutional law teacher as well. And the fact that members of the U.S. Supreme Court may disagree does not diminish the force of the legal arguments in favor of that position, which I believe will prevail one day.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. See my position above.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes, as above.



Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4)


Council questionnaire, 2007 (special election)
www.glaa.org/archive/2007/cqmbowser.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes. I believe this is a matter of fairness and equality. If the District passes such a measure, I will lobby against any attempt by Congress or the federal government to overturn it. The District of Columbia must be allowed to choose its own direction on this issue without interference from the federal government.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes. As Councilmember, I will work with my colleagues and the Mayor to expand the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage. Again, this is a matter of fairness.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes.

14. Will you oppose legislation giving special benefits to PEPCO until it implements an equitable domestic partner benefit program?

Yes.

15. Do you agree that private contractors doing business with the District should be required to provide domestic partner programs?

Yes.



Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. (D-Ward 5)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqthomas.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

Yes.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

Yes.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes.



Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6)


Council questionnaire, 2006
www.glaa.org/archive/2006/cqwells.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I support and will fight for full legal recognition of marriages by partners of the same sex.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

I support granting every right assured to married couples to domestic partners who are prevented from marrying due to being the same sex.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

I will actively support full recognition by the DC government of same sex relationships granted a legal status by another jurisdiction.



Councilmember Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7)


Council questionnaire, 2007 (special election)
www.glaa.org/archive/2007/cqalexander.shtml

11. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I support legal recognition of unions between partners of the same sex.

12. Will you support legislation in the District to continue expanding the existing domestic partnership program to include all relevant rights and responsibilities of marriage in D.C. law?

I believe that domestic partner programs should afford same sex couples the rights and privileges of all other couples.

13. Will you support the legislative and/or regulatory changes necessary to ensure that the District recognizes civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions?

Yes, I support legislation/and or regulatory changes that increases the Districts recognition of civil unions, domestic partnerships and similar legal relationships established in other jurisdictions.

14. Will you oppose legislation giving special benefits to PEPCO until it implements an equitable domestic partner benefit program?

I will review legislation that gives special benefits to PEPCO concerning theor domestic partnership efforts. I do believe that all businesses that do business with the District government should follow similar guidelines on all issues. I will review this legislation closely and take input from this group.

15. Do you agree that private contractors doing business with the District should be required to provide domestic partner programs?

I am a proponent of expanding business opportunities, as such I review closely all regulations implemented against businesses. As a know consensus builder, and a long-time member of Gertrude Stein I will review this and work to implement policies that all sides agree with.



Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8)


Report in The Washington Blade, June 27, 2008
http://www.washblade.com/2008/6-27/news/localnews/12844.cfm

"D.C. Council Member Marion Barry said that he would vote for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the city, if such a measure is introduced.

"It’s the first time the former mayor has publicly revealed his position on a marriage bill. His remarks came on June 18 at a meeting of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Washington’s largest gay political group,

"Until the Stein Club’s meeting last week, Barry had declined to say whether he would support legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

"In response to a question at the meeting, Barry said, 'I don’t think you should make that question a litmus test. But if a bill like that were to come up, I would vote for it.'"

Council questionnaire, 2004

(Candidate did not respond to GLAA questionnaire. He has joined unanimous Council votes on domestic partnership legislation.)



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