A bill that would legalize gay marriage in D.C. is ready and could be introduced in the District before month's end.
If Congress lets it be, D.C. could become the only area south of the Mason-Dixon line where same-sex couples can marry.
Earlier this year, the D.C. Council approved a bill recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states; in that instance, Congress let the issue be.
But Congress intruded in another local matter when it attached an anti-gun control amendment to federal legislation that would give the city a full vote in the House, according to The Washington Post.
Catania said Thursday that he had 10 co-sponsors on the bill, titled the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009," which would change the current law to say that "marriage is the legally recognized union of two people" and that "any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements . . . may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender."
Catania's also bill emphasizes that no religious organizations or their officials would have to perform a same-sex marriage or provide wedding-related services to same-sex couples, according to The Post.
"I think it is very important for people to realize we are talking about a civil marriage, not a religious marriage," Catania said.
That facet of the bill doesn't seem to matter with the socially conservative African-American pastors who are opposing the bill -- or the the archbishop of Washington's Catholic Church, who earlier this month also joined the fight against same-sex marriage in the District.