NEWS STAND: D.C. OKs Same-Sex, Yes to Bananas, Non to Racism, Soft Radio

The Root's take on today's headlines.


DC OKs Same-Sex Marriage

Just days after black voters helped put Houston's first openly gay mayor into office, the Washington, D.C. city council struck its own blow for gay rights. The federal district's local lawmakers voted Tuesday night to allow same-sex marriage, making it the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to pass such a law.

Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the bill by the end of the week but opponents said they would appeal to the courts or to Congress, which has a 30-day period to review any legislation passed by the DC city council. The bill passed by an 11-2 margin after a year-long debate that pitted gay rights activists and liberals against conservative clergy, according to the Washington Post.

City officials estimate that 10,000 same-sex couples could flock to Washington to get married over the next three years if the measure becomes law. The marriage could pour as much as $22 million into the city's coffers, according to estimates done in the run-up to the vote. Washington's vote further dismantles the perception that African-American voters are reflexively anti-gay, a view that gained traction after last year's failure of a same-sex marriage proposition in California.


Yes to Bananas

The world's longest trade dispute is finally over. The "banana wars" started before the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 and involved preferences given to former Caribbean and African colonies by members of the European Union. American corporate giant Chiquita Brands and Latin American growers had objected.

The agreement will reduce tariffs against imported bananas in the European Union over seven years and U.S. and Latin American growers will drop their litigation efforts. The EU will provide 200 million euros in development aid to the former colonies such as Martinique and Guadeloupe to help them restructure their banana industries.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the interim European trade commissioner, called the settlement "a very historic moment", saying: "This dispute has soured global trade relations for too long," reported the Financial Times. Officials hope the deal on bananas is a first step toward resolving a series of prickly trade issues involving rich and poor nations.

Non to Racism