The District's new same-sex marriage law could become entangled, at least briefly, in the U.S. Senate debate over changes to the health care reform act that President Obama signed into law Tuesday.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has introduced an amendment that would suspend the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples until the issue could be put before voters.
Bennett is emerging as the most stalwart congressional opponent to same-sex marriage in the District. Earlier this month, he sought to attach a similar amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill. But that amendment was ruled out of order.
Bennett's latest attempt to force a referendum on the city's same-sex marriage law, which went into effect March. 3, has the support of GOP Sens. Roger Wicker (Miss), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James M. Inhofe (Ok), and John Cornyn (Texas), according to the DCist blog.
But Senate Democrats, who are trying to keep all GOP amendments off the reconciliation bill, are widely expected to kill Bennett's amendment, which was first reported by the New York Times.
Still, Bennett's determination to force a public vote on same-sex marriage in the District has caught the attention of District leaders.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), the District's non-voting representative in the House of Representatives, has stated she will have to remain on "daily vigil" to guard against congressional intervention over the issue.
"No sooner had we finished celebrating our new marriage equality law than the Bennett amendment became the first of counter attacks I expect all session," Norton said in a statement after Bennett unsuccessfully pushed for his amendment earlier this month. "But I abide no pessimism about turning them back. I will continue to work with our friends in the Senate, where the attacks are likely to come most frequently."