How Gay Marriage Recognition Works

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

At 12:01 a.m. today, under a law approved in May, the District began recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. Here's a Q&A to help couples navigate the changes.

Can I now get married in the District?

No. Issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples remains illegal. But the D.C. Council is expected to take up a legalization bill in the fall.

If my spouse and I were legally married in another jurisdiction and now live in Maryland or Virginia, can we move to the District and be recognized?

Yes. The District will recognize couples legally married outside the city.

Where can my partner and I get legally married?

Same-sex couples can get married in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will follow in the next several months.

Will any other jurisdictions be recognized?

Yes. The city will recognize same-sex couples who were married in California before the November referendum that reversed legalization of gay nuptials in that state. Legal marriages in foreign countries will also be recognized.

What rights do same-sex couples have?

Gay couples are entitled to more than 200 legal rights extended to all married couples. The rights include: inheritance, benefits for spouses of employees at private companies and in the District's government and spousal immunity from testifying against each other.

-- Nikita Stewart

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