Republicans Slow To Attack DC Marriage Law, But May Still Attach Repeal To Must-Pass Legislation

The Washington Posts’ Ben Pershing notes that in the five months since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, they’ve been reluctant to push forward with an effort to repeal same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. Conservative lawmakers have certainly talked the talk of rolling back marriage equality in the District, but so far, “No bill has been introduced to overturn it, nor has any lawmaker publicly sought support from colleagues for such a measure.” This has advocates concerned that social conservatives may still be scheming to attach the measure to a piece of must-pass legislation:

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he knew of no campaign to repeal the law. “My committee has no intention at this time of overturning gay marriage,” Issa said this month, although he later clarified that he was speaking for himself as chairman and not for individual lawmakers.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), now chairman of the D.C. oversight subcommittee, responded similarly Tuesday. He said that he would support a bill to overturn the same-sex marriage law if one were introduced but that he had no interest in spearheading such an effort.

“I was not elected to be D.C. mayor, and I don’t aspire to be,” Gowdy said, echoing a previous comment by him on local issues.


The fact that no Republican has introduced a bill this year could be a sign that the majority plans to use a different tactic. […] If Republicans append a rider to a broader debt-reduction measure if one occurs, Obama and Senate Democrats would oppose such a move, but it’s unclear whether they consider the issue a deal-breaker.

D.C.’s marriage law was enacted in 2009, after the D.C. Council passed two measures to recognize marriages performed outside and inside the District. Both bills passed through a mandated congressional review period without challenge, even though several conservative Republicans sponsored bills to ban same-sex marriages in D.C. In January, the Supreme Court declined a request to hear a lawsuit intending to allow a voter referendum on the District’s same-sex marriage law.