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Chaffetz seeks to nix gay marriage in D.C.

Published May 6, 2009 12:51 am

At odds with locals » City Council: Let us make our own decisions
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's newest member of Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, is leading the charge in Congress to overturn the District of Columbia's move to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Chaffetz, who is the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the district, says he is in discussions with House minority leaders on which of several options they will use to try to thwart the sanction of same-sex marriage within the nation's capital.

"I'm in a favor of recognizing marriage as a union between a man and a woman," Chaffetz said. "I'm not in favor of trying to redefine it, or disguise it under another name."

Unlike any other American city, Washington has no ultimate control over its own laws and budgets and Congress has 30 days in which to cancel the 12-1 vote by the City Council to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. The district, home to nearly 600,000 residents, has no voting member of Congress.

While Chaffetz agrees he would object to the federal government telling his hometown of Alpine to recognize or not recognize gay marriage, the freshman congressman says the District of Columbia is different because it receives federal funding as the nation's capital.

"People in Salt Lake City are paying for the operation and government in the District of Columbia," Chaffetz says. He adds that he believes Congress should vote on the issue.

It's unclear what tactics Chaffetz and fellow Republicans may use to try to stop the district from moving forward with accepting same-sex marriage licenses, but with a strong Democratic majority, they may not get far.

Meanwhile, the district's City Council is hoping Congress will let residents decide their own fate under a principle called home rule.

"The Council hopes Representative Chaffetz and other members of Congress will respect home rule and allow the local representatives of the District of Columbia the right to legislate on this issue, as with others, in the best interest of the citizens who have elected them to do so, and not intervene," Chairman Vincent C. Gray said in a statement.

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