A reader writes:
Marriage equality across the country promises to strain DOMA through lawsuits like those from Massachusetts and California suing for federal benefits, but this move by the council sets up a direct conflict because of home rule. D.C. is under the jurisdiction of Congress, and Congress enacted and abides by DOMA. If Congress chooses to ignore this move by the council (as federal law mandates it should), they not only continue to back inequality--they feed the enduring struggle of D.C. citizens to ensure some measure of self-governance and legal autonomy. Even though the step of recognition feels less significant than legalizing the sanctioning of these unions in the District, its unique context stages a much bigger confrontation, and we should all pay attention.
Yes, and that is even more the case of the DC Council moves to legalize marriage equality in the District itself. This is particularly appealing to the Rove wing of the GOP, because they can use black homophobia as a wedge issue. DC is a perfect place to pit gays and straight, religious African-Americans, and we know that Republicanism as it has evolved under Rove is almost defined by finding groups of Americans to pit against each other.