The Washington City Council is on track to make it easier for same-sex couples who got married in the District of Columbia to get divorced.
D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson proposed the legislation after hearing reports that same-sex couples who wed in the District were being denied divorces after moving to jurisdictions that don't recognize same-sex marriages. The District of Columbia began allowing same-sex marriages in 2010. But those marriages are recognized in only a handful of places, meaning divorce proceedings can't be started in many places that haven't recognized the marriages in the first place.
"I received a number of reports from couples or attorneys about this impossible situation," Mendelson told the Washington Examiner.
Mendelson's bill removes a six-month waiting period during which someone seeking a divorce must reside in the District, provided the marriage occurred in the District in the first place.
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington has applauded Mendelson's bill.
"This bill fills a gap in the law created by our being ahead of the historical curve. None of us celebrates the dissolution of a marriage, but equality under the law must extend to every contingency. The lack of a clear legal mechanism for divorce can make an unhappy situation much worse for all involved," Rick Rosendall, the alliance's vice president for political affairs, said in a statement.
The bill was co-sponsored by seven other members of the 13-member council, meaning final passage is likely.
Approval by the mayor or an override of a veto is required, as is a 30-day congressional review period, before the measure can become law.