local digest

Senator challenges District's same-sex marriage law

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Senator challenges same-sex marriage

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) has introduced legislation that would require the District to put same-sex marriage on the ballot before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as planned next month.

The proposed District of Columbia Referendum on Marriage Act, similar to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would halt the implementation of the new city law.

The D.C. Council voted to legalize same-sex unions in December, and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) signed the bill. Under the Home Rule Charter, there is a 30-day congressional review period. Without congressional intervention, the law will go into effect next month.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have tried several legal avenues to block the law. But the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has rejected putting the issue on the ballot, saying it would violate District law, and a judge has upheld the decision.

A news release by Bennett called the rulings by the judge and election board "an activist interpretation" of District law.

-- Nikita Stewart

Gasoline fumes empty police station

A Northwest Washington police station was temporarily evacuated Wednesday morning after a fuel spill sent fumes into the station, officials said.

Fire officials responded to a fuel leak about 8:30 a.m. at the gas pumps of the 2nd District police station in the 3300 block of Idaho Avenue NW. Some gasoline fumes got into the ventilation system of the building, said D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Pete Piringer.

The building was cleared as hazmat officials ventilated with fans and open air, Piringer said.

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