Thursday, July 24

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL STRIKES AGAIN

Lou Chibbaro Jr, Washington Blade An official with the Office of the D.C. Attorney General, acting on behalf of Mayor Adrian Fenty, startled gay activists by arguing that a domestic partnership bill pending before the City Council would give "unusual" and "unprecedented" parental rights to same-sex couples, jeopardizing federal funding for the city’s child support programs.

In written testimony submitted to a City Council committee, Tonya A. Sapp, director of legislative affairs for the Attorney General’s Office, said her office has "significant concern" that the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act of 2008, violates a federal law pertaining to city child support programs and could result in federal sanctions against important city programs that benefit children.

But nationally recognized gay rights attorney and American University law professor Nancy Polikoff said Sapp’s five-page written statement raising objections to the domestic partners bill "demonstrates an astonishing ignorance" of same-sex civil union and domestic partnership laws in other states.

According to Polikoff, civil union and domestic partnership laws in states like Vermont and Connecticut, among others, provide the same parental rights provisions for same-sex couples that the D.C. Council bill would provide. "No ill effects on federal funding or conflicts in federal guidelines have occurred in any of these other states," Polikoff said.

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