Sunday, December 20, 2009

Washington, D.C. Mayor Signs Law Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

(RTTNews) - Washington, D.C mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill Friday that legalizes same-sex marriage in the district.

The bill now enters into a 30-day review period in Congress, though it is widely believed that the Democratic majority will not block the law. By law, Congress has the right to review and, if they wish, overturn any measure passed by the D.C. council.

"We knew this day would come," Fenty said at the signing, which took place at All Souls Church in Mount Pleasant.

He added, "I say to the world: An era of struggle ends for thousands in Washington, D.C. ... Our city is taking a leap forward."

The measure had already been passed by the city council on Tuesday, with the council voting overwhelmingly to send the measure to the mayor.

As expected, the council's decision and the signing drew mixed reactions. The Human Rights Campaign released a statement in which it called the decision "a victory for all D.C. residents."

"The legislation the council passed today reinforces the legal equality and religious freedoms to which all DC residents are entitled," the group said.

Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, released a statement in which it said "the fight is not over."

"Politicians on the city council are acting as if they have the right through legislation to deprive citizens of DC of their core civil right to vote, but we will not let them get away with it," the group said in its statement.

Should Congress allow the measure to go through, Washington, D.C. would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa as places in the U.S. where same-sex marriage is legal. Additionally, New Hampshire will also be joining the group when a law legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect January 1.

While same-sex marriage has seen its fair share of victories, it has also seen plenty of defeats. California and Maine both saw laws passed legalizing same-sex marriage, only to have residents of those states overturn the laws through popular vote. In every state where same-sex marriage has been put to popular vote, it has been defeated.

In addition, New York State and New Jersey lawmakers have recently blocked laws that would have legalized same-sex marriage in those states.

by RTT Staff Writer

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