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LGBT rights in the District of Columbia

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Title: LGBT rights in the District of Columbia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: LGBT rights in the United States, LGBT rights in American Samoa, LGBT rights in Alaska, LGBT rights in Nebraska, LGBT rights in Rhode Island
Collection: Lgbt in Washington, D.C., Lgbt Rights in the United States
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

LGBT rights in the District of Columbia

LGBT rights in the District of Columbia
District of Columbia (US)
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 1993
(Legislative repeal)
Gender identity/expression Yes
Discrimination protections Yes, on both sexual orientation and gender identity
Family rights
Recognition of
Same-sex marriage since 2010
Adoption Yes

The establishment of LGBT rights in the District of Columbia is a relatively recent occurrence, with the majority of advances in LGBT rights taking place in the past century. Along with various American states, the District of Columbia recognizes marriage of same-sex couples.[1] The percentage of households in the District of Columbia based on same-sex couples in 2008 was at 1.8%, the highest in the nation.[1] Under the District of Columbia Home Rule Act 1973, all laws passed by the Council of the District of Columbia and signed by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, are subject to a mandatory 30 day "Congressional review" by US Congress. Only then after the 30 day Congressional review, the US Congress formally approves that law — then they become effective in the District of Columbia.


  • Law regarding same-sex sexual activity 1
  • Recognition of same-sex relationships 2
  • Adoption and family planning 3
  • Discrimination protection 4
  • Hate crime laws 5
  • Gender identity 6
  • Conversion therapy 7
  • References 8

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity

Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1981 but the decision was quickly overturned by the United States Congress.[2] A successful legislative repeal of laws criminalizing same-sex sexual activity followed in 1993.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Same-sex domestic partnerships were legalized by the city government in 1992 through the Health Benefits Expansion Act, but the Republican-controlled Congress refused to approve the measure until 2002, when a legislative rider preventing Congressional approval of the Act's implementation was not included that year. Afterward, the domestic partnerships provisions of District law were incrementally expanded.

Same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia was legalized on December 18, 2009, when mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill passed by the Council of the District of Columbia on December 15, 2009. Following the signing the measure entered a mandatory Congressional review of 30 work days. Marriage licenses became available on March 3, 2010, and marriages began on March 9, 2010. The District became the only jurisdiction in the United States below the Mason–Dixon Line to allow same-sex couples to marry, until neighboring Maryland legalized same sex marriage on January 1, 2013.

Domestic partnerships for same-sex and opposite-sex couples remain available as an option alongside marriage.[4]

The District has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees since 2002.[5]

Adoption and family planning

Same-sex couples adopting children is legal, along with IVF and surrogacy.

Discrimination protection

Sexual orientation and gender identity are both covered as protected classes under the District of Columbia's law.[6]

Since May 2015, the ban on discriminating against LGBT students attending religious schools became law.[7]

Hate crime laws

District's hate crime law covers hate crimes based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.[8]

Gender identity

Transgender persons may amend their birth certificates once they have undergone sex-reassignment surgery.[9] Under the JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013, transgender persons who were born in DC may obtain new birth certificates that reflect their current gender identity from the city registrar on the basis of a letter from a licensed health care provider and no longer need to have undergone gender reassignment surgery. The act passed Congressional review and took effect on November 5, 2013.[10][11]

Conversion therapy

On December 2, 2014, the D.C. Council voted unanimously to ban sexual orientation change efforts (conversion therapy) for minors. Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed the bill on December 22, 2014.[12][13] The act passed Congressional review and took effect on March 11, 2015.[14] Since 2015, California, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon have similar laws.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  6. ^
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ B20-0501 - Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013
  14. ^
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