There have been major positive developments both in Washington, D.C. and in Mexico City in the past few weeks. The D.C. city council has passed a landmark same-sex marriage law, building upon the recent enactment of marriage-equivalent domestic partnership registration. It has been signed by the Mayor, but it remains subject to a potential Congressional override some time in the coming month. Historically Congress has not interfered with this sort of local legislation, but as we all know gay marriage is not business-as-usual. Nonetheless, the strong Democratic majority in both houses and the tradition of deference should assure safe passage for this breakthrough. One of the most interesting aspects of this news is that D.C. is in the midst of some fairly conservative geography, such as Virginia and Maryland, and if marriage is legalized in D.C. the surrounding jurisdictions are going to have to deal with a rush of married couples living in their states.
One of the best “benefits” of this development is that members of Congress will be in the neighborhood for many same-sex weddings, which is bound to have an indirect impact on the national legislation and policy formation.
In Mexico City, the assembly passed with a comfortable margin of victory, and the Mayor is expected to sign the legislation soon. Mexico’s laws are complicated in the marriage arena, with some areas covered by national law. But the local marriages will extend adoption rights, inheritance benefits, and many financial and insurance protections for same-sex couples. This advancement in Mexico follows on the heels of positive legislation in the larger cities of Argentina and Brazil and in Uruguay as well.