Posts Tagged “Same-Sex Marriage”
Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: District Digest, Fireworks, Harriette Walters, NextBus, OTR, Same-Sex Marriage, Taxis, The Real World, Washington Post, WMATA
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are getting closer to pinpointing the cause of last week’s Metro crash. They discovered that WMATA had replaced a crucial component of the signaling component, the “Wee-Z bond” which maintains a safe distance between trains, and it malfunctioned. There have already been a couple lawsuits filed against Metro, including one by Johnnie Cochran’s law firm. WMATA General Manager John Catoe announced that the system will keep operating in manual mode until outside experts have a chance to examine the signaling system, which could as long as a year.
In some rare “good on you, WMATA” news, the embattled transit agency just re-launched its NextBus service this Wednesday. NextBus allows you to see when the next bus will be arriving for any route and can be used from the internet or a cell phone. The service was launched as a pilot program about two years ago for 32 routes, but it was only 80 percent accurate. The improved version covers all 335 bus routes.
Harriette Walters, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue employee who masterminded the largest embezzlement in city’s history, was sentenced to 17 and half years in prison. It was revealed in 2007 that over the course of two decades Walters’ had defrauded the D.C. government to the tune of $48.1 million through issuing tax refunds to fake businesses.
Speaking of OTR, this year they mistakenly sent tax refunds to people who actually owe the District taxes. One resident who got the unmerited refund was D.C. Councilmember David Catania’s (I—At Large) parter, Brian.
After the jump: the Washington Post wipes out, medicinal marijuana makes progress, legal fireworks fun and more.
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: Crime, DC Council, District Digest, Holocaust Memorial Museum, John Ensign, Michelle Rhee, Purple Line, Same-Sex Marriage, Voting Rights
The D.C. Board of Elections ruled that the newly passed law recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states is not subject to a referendum vote. The board ruled that if a referendum were allowed on the issue, they would be “authorizing discrimination.” Gay marriage opponents who had been fighting for the referendum immediately filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Superior Court. They’ve also asked the judge to “stop the clock” to prevent the new law from coming into effect on July 6.
The D.C. Council debated two competing anti-crime bills. The more hard-line bill, backed by Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and Georgetown’s Councilmember Jack Evans (D—Ward 2) included a “civil gangs injunction” that raised civil rights and racial profiling concerns. The other bill, backed by Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D—At Large) was pretty similar but more ACLU-friendly and ultimately won out.
The hearing for Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter James von Brunn was delayed due to his medical condition (he was shot in the face during his attack). It was also revealed that in addition to being a white supremacist, von Brunn was also into child pornography. The D.C. Council also passed a resolution urging prosecutors to charge von Brunn with violating the city’s hate crime statue in addition to his federal charges.
After the jump: Michelle Rhee reaches the terrible twos, D.C. Voting Rights foe gets a nice helping of karma, and more!
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In the interest of keeping you informed about the fine city we live in, Vox is starting a new feature, the District Digest, which will be a quick-and-easy guide to the most interesting and important D.C. stories of the week.
The big, sad, awful story of the week was the shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum on Wednesday. James von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist, opened rifle fire at the museum, killing security guard Stephen Johns.
Plans for the District to get a voting representative in the House were derailed on Tuesday when Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton announced that she had decided to kill the D.C. House Voting Rights Act due to the Ensign Amendment, a provision tacked on to the bill that would have all but eliminated the District’s gun control laws.
The Board of Elections and Ethics will decide whether or not opponents of same-sex marriage will be able to hold a referendum vote on the D.C. Council’s decision last month to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles said he doesn’t believe the same-sex marriage measure should be subject to a referendum, but the final decision lies with DCBOEE.
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The image that haunts ANC Commissioners’ nightmares
The big excitement last night was supposed to be a resolution on same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia, but that was pulled from the agenda at the last minute in an effort to better coordinate with the local gay rights movement, according to Georgetown Metropolitan. According to the University’s student Commissioner Aaron Golds (COL ’11), the resolution will probably be introduced in a few months.
With the same-sex marriage discussion postponed, the meeting’s major drama was anxiety over a new restaurant opening at 3251 Prospect Street, the former home of Georgetown Billiards. The company that purchased the space also owns Eyebar, which is much more of a nightlife destination than a culinary enterprise, putting neighbors who fear a massive club rat invasion into tizzy.
According to ANC Commissioner Bill Starrels, the Voluntary Agreement (the pact an establishment makes with the ANC that determines the conditions alcohol can be served under) Georgetown Billiards had was “very, very strict” and will apply to the new “restaurant” unless they file for a new one. As of the last time Starrels checked, they hadn’t filed for any substantial changes to the Voluntary Agreement, but he will be meeting with them Monday to discuss their plans for the space.
Starrels tried to assure the community that because of the Voluntary Agreement the new business “cannot be party central, cannot be a nightclub; it would be virtually impossible for them to legally run anything other than a restaurant.” But neighbors still had concerns that the company was going to stealthily transform it into a private club. The issue will be discussed further at the next ANC meeting.
Besides the preemptive hand-wringing over the new restaurant, the ANC also unanimously conferred a commendation on Denise Cunningham, stalwart student noise nemesis, for her two-and-a-half years of service as Citizens Association of Georgetown President, praising her “persistence” and encouragement of “cooperation between all elements of the community.”
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: 2010 Campus Plan, ANC, Georgetown, Georgetown Neighborhood, Meetings, Politics, Same-Sex Marriage, Town-Gown Relations, Trash
Does this look like something you could talk about for 6+ hours? Totally!
For those of you still in D.C., there are a few upcoming community meetings you should know about. Hot topics include the University’s 2010 Campus Plan, student garbage and same-sex marriage in D.C.
- The biggie is an all-day community meeting on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts (3500 R Street) about the 2010 Campus Plan. The University is in the process of developing its new 10-year plan which will determine what can be done over the next 10 years in terms of important issues like the expansion of the library, construction of new facilities, expansion of student housing, et cetra.
If you’ve got free time on Saturday, try to stop by and make sure a student perspective is taken into account. If you can’t make it, though, expect full coverage of the meeting right here at Vox.
- There will be a meeting tonight between Georgetown community members and the University’s Office of Student Conduct at 6:30 p.m. at the Alumni House. The meeting will address “student conduct in the community” and our “excessive garbage” (a long-standing issue with the neighbors) according to a message sent out on the GeorgetownForum listserv. The agenda includes Magis Row and the trash situation on the 35oo block of O Street.
We got a stern talking-to for publishing an article about a similar meeting in February, and we’ve since been told that reporters will not be allowed to cover these meetings because “there is the sense that [community members] can’t speak as freely as they might want” if reporters are present, according to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Jeanne Lord. However, students who live off-campus can attend and, if they feel so inclined, leave their impressions of the meeting in the comments.
- If that’s not enough neighborhood politics for you, there will also be the monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting this Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Georgetown Visitation School. The agenda for this month’s meeting isn’t too thrilling, but it does include a “resolution on legalization of same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia.” Once again, you can expect full coverage of the meeting from Vox.
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Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla., left) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio,right), totally more qualified to make laws for D.C. than people elected by D.C. residents
Just a few weeks after the D.C. Council almost unanimously passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) introduced the “D.C. Defense of Marriage Act” yesterday, which would define marriage in D.C. as “a union of one man and one woman.” The bill has thirty co-sponsors, including one Democrat besides Boren.
So what are the bill’s chances of success? According to an aside in the Politco article on it, not so hot, thankfully:
It’s not clear if there’s any legislative vehicle for the anti-gay-marriage bill or whether Democrats would even allow a vote on the measure.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), for one, seems skeptical about the bill’s prospects. When asked about the bill, Norton’s spokesperson said her May 5th statement—”I do not believe a serious attempt to overturn the council bill will be made or would be successful”—still stands.
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Last night, Daily Show host Jon Stewart took D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry (D—Ward 8 ) to task for claiming that his decision to cast the sole vote against recognizing same-sex marriages performed in different states was made because he is a “politician who is moral.” To Barry’s credit, it takes a lot of, uh, chutzpah to brag about your “moral compass” when your national reputation is based on a grainy video of you doing cocaine in a motel room…
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13/13 12/13 D.C. Council members support gay marriage!
The D.C. Council’s final vote on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states (first voted on in early April) went remarkably smoothly, passing 13-0… until Ward 8 Councilmember and former “Mayor-for-life” Marion Barry (D) realized what he was voting on. The confused Councilmember, who had pledged to Christian groups that he would vote against recognizing same-sex marriage, then requested a reconsideration of the bill.
The ensuing debate, which City Paper‘s Mike Debonis chronicled, was rather personal since two Councilmembers, David Catania (I—At Large) and Jim Graham (D—Ward 1) are gay. Catania said “[Barry's] position is bigoted” and Graham said he respects Barry’s civil rights record but “We part ways today on this issue” and that “There is not enough love in this world today.”
While Catania, Graham and their allies couldn’t convince Barry to change his position, the vote ultimately came down to a resounding 12-1 in favor. Not unanimous, true, but still a nice victory for the gay rights movement.
Photo from Flickr user bobster855, used under a Creative Commons license.
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It’s been a big week for same-sex marriage. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. Today, as the Vermont Legislature overrode their Governor’s veto of a bill legalizing gay marriage, the D.C. council unanimously passed a bill to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Predicting big Democratic wins in November, many speculated last fall that the Council would introduce a same-sex marriage bill of its own. However, after the passage of California’s Proposition 8 and D.C. voting rights hanging in the balance, the Council has been cautious about provoking Congress’s ire.
When he spoke at Georgetown a few weeks ago, Councilmember and Georgetown alum David Catania (I—At Large) said introducing a gay marriage bill would jeopardize the success of voting rights, but also added that “It’s the undying civil rights issue of our time and I intend to go forward with it.”
Photo from Flickr user M.V. Jansen used under a Creative Commons license.
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Bald is beautiful
D.C. Councilmember David Catania (SFS ’90, LAW ’94) spoke to students today (as part of the Michael Jurist (SFS ’07) Distinguished Alumni Roundtable series), and man, is he awesome.
Catania (Ind. – At Large) waxed philosophical on a number of subjects, blending serious information, like the roots of the D.C. HIV/AIDS epidemic, with jokes and anecdotes, like “Raise your hand if you think sex doesn’t happen in jail.” He also talked about whatever happened to the gay marriage rights bill he had planned to introduce in January.
The conversation started focused on how Catania’s SFS education got him started on the path he’s on today. While he was here, Catania was a research assistant for Madeline Albright (jealous?). He became an energy lawyer after he graduated from law school, albeit not a very enthusiastic one, and ran for public office on a whim. Not his own whim, but his neighbor’s. He explained:
“I was first elected to the DC City Council in ’96 because neighbor of mine had talked me into running. Jean would have been about 86 years old… She took me up on the roof of my building and fed me gin and tonics until I agreed to run. And let me tell you, the best way to run is unopposed” He’s served on the Council ever since.
The gay marriage bill and a Catania-Pat Dowd heart-to-heart after the jump.
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