Marriage Licenses Issued to Same-Sex Couples in Nation’s Capital

On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, the District of Columbia issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples under a recently passed law.  The District of Columbia joins five other states in recognizing the right of same-sex couples to wed, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Iowa.  Same-sex couples who get married in D.C. will also have their marriages recognized in California, New York, and Maryland.

According to the Washington Post Blog, approximately 150 couples from District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia applied for marriage licenses last Wednesday, the first day that applications were accepted from same-sex couples under the new law.

As reported by the Washington Post Blog:

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who signed the legalization measure in December, invoked his parents’ interracial marriage as he congratulated the newlyweds at a news conference. The weddings, he said, “were a great step forward for equality and for our city that has always been a standard-bearer for treating people equally and justly.”

Among the more than 100 guests, friends and relatives of the three couples at the HRC were council members David A. Catania (I-At Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who are gay.

Catania, the leading sponsor of the bill, which passed the D.C. Council 11 to 2, called the moment “the most profoundly rewarding day. . . . I could not be prouder of this city.”

The couples were also joined by Frank Kameny, one of the founders of the gay rights movement, who was fired from his federal government job in 1957 for being gay. He hailed the event as a “major victory” but cautioned the crowd not to lose sight of the work ahead in other states and with the federal government, which is prevented by the Defense of Marriage Act from recognizing same-sex marriages.

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