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Mayor Fenty Signs Marriage Equality Bill

December 18, 2009 1 comment

Well, it’s official. Washington, DC has become the latest city to fully recognize same-sex marriages.

At a signing ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church, Mayor Fenty signed the measure into law. It is now off to the U.S. Congress for a 30-legislative day review.

It really is a great day for DC residents and an awesome Christmas gift to DC’s substantial LGBT community. The crowd was sizeable, the Washington Post estimated it at 150. Most of the Council members were in attendance, including Chair Vince Gray. Also in attendance was Harry Thomas, Jr. who at a rally earlier in the week talked at length about his support of marriage equality despite representing a ward that was vocal in its opposition. Such political risks are admirable and it was heartwarming to see him in the front row.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this long fight was the civility involved in the debate over this issue, at least among the Council members. On Tuesday, when the bill was passed, Catania gave praise to Council Members Barry and Alexander. Both members have long supported the LGBT community, but could not bring themselves to support this bill. He implored his supporters and the LGBT community in general to keep their support in other areas in mind and to try to, at the very least, respect their decision.

David Catania delivers remarks at All Souls Church just before Mayor Adrian Fenty (pictured, right) signed the historic bill into law. Catania was the marriage bill's lead sponsor.

Of course, our work is not over as we ready for a potential fight in Congress. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has already stated that he plans to introduce a bill that would bar the law from being implemented. Chaffetz himself has little faith that his bill will get anywhere in this Congress, as he told the Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s going to be exceptionally difficult because Democrats have us outnumbered by large amounts.”  Indeed, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said publicly several months ago that Congress would not get involved. “The speaker is a longstanding supporter of marriage equality and of the District of Columbia making decisions for itself,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House speaker Nancy Pelosi to The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld.

I’m ready for this fight. I know the whole community is, but today I plan to celebrate. With Mayor Fenty’s signature, he has made Washington now, more than ever, a shining example of what cities across America should be.

(photo courtesy of HRC Backstory)

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