LGBT activists are calling on D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty to recognize marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships legally performed in other jurisdictions as domestic partnerships in the District. The D.C. City Council passed a law last year giving the mayor the authority to do so, but the mayor has so far failed to take the action necessary to certify which relationships would qualify for recognition.
D.C. does not currently allow marriage between same-sex couples, but the City does offer comprehensive domestic partnerships. While domestic partnerships are not equal to marriage, recognition of marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships locally, would be a strong step forward.
Email Mayor Fenty at firstname.lastname@example.org
After the jump is a sample email that you can edit to make more personal:
Dear Mayor Fenty:
I urge you to carry out the provision allowing the District to extend recognition to the Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships, and similar relationships under various names in states and countries which have passed laws similar to the District.
The new section of D.C. Code §32-702(i) reads, "Relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District."
Please certify the civil unions from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New Jersey; the domestic partnerships of California and Oregon; and same-sex marriages from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and California; as well as the numerous countries with similar laws as domestic partnerships in the District.
Because Washington is a destination city for people from across the country and the world, it is all the more vital that you certify these relationships so that Domestic Partners (whatever they are legally termed) who come to the District from elsewhere are able to enjoy the same legal protections as District residents who have registered as Domestic Partners.
Mr. Mayor, you gave the following written response during the 2006 mayoral campaign to a question from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance http://www.glaa.org/archive/2006/mqfenty.shtml:
"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.... 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."
It is hard to understand why several months have passed with no sign of action by your office to fulfill your duties under the law and your campaign promise. Please do not keep the affected families in legal limbo any longer. Please proceed quickly to certify these relationships.