GLAA endorses civil marriage dissolution equality amendment
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GLAA endorses civil marriage dissolution equality amendment

Testimony on Bill 19-526,
Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Amendment Act of 2011

Delivered before the Committee on the Judiciary
December 8, 2011


Good morning, Chairman Mendelson. I am Rick Rosendall, Vice President for Political Affairs of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington. We are now in our 41st year.

We are pleased to endorse Bill 19-526, the Civil Marriage Dissolution Equality Amendment Act of 2011.

We are proud of the leading role that we played in the long struggle that led to legal equality for same-sex couples in the District. We are equally proud of the broad-based coalition we helped build and nurture, which led to our city’s enactment of civil marriage equality. The honor roll is lengthy but prominently includes you, Mr. Mendelson, for your tireless efforts to strengthen, pass, and defend that landmark legislation.

Nothing has gratified me more than our collective success in defeating the carpetbaggers who sought to divide our city along racial and religious lines. The good people of Washington roundly repudiated every anti-gay candidate in the 2010 election. The now-routine issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples adds to the mounting proof that our opponents’ dire warnings were groundless, while increasing the presence of justice and the occasions for joy.

That being said, the inconsistency among marriage laws from state to state has meant more work for you and your staff. The present bill provides a means to dissolve a marriage performed in the District when the parties to the marriage live in another jurisdiction that does not recognize the marriage. This bill fills a gap in the law created by our being ahead of the historical curve. None of us celebrates the dissolution of a marriage, but equality under the law must extend to every contingency. The lack of a clear legal mechanism for divorce can make an unhappy situation much worse for all involved.

We commend you, Mr. Mendelson, for introducing this needed bill. Thanks also to the bill's co-sponsors, Mary Cheh, David Catania, Tommy Wells, Muriel Bowser, Michael Brown, Jim Graham, Harry Thomas Jr., and Chairman Kwame Brown. We look forward to its prompt passage.

Thank you.


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