Gay and lesbian couples who applied for
a license on the first day a District of Columbia gay marriage law
went into effect last week began marrying Tuesday. Couples needed to
wait the customary three-day period before marrying.
Fox News reported that 15 gay
couples had picked up their marriage licenses an hour into the
district's marriage bureau's workday. About 150 couples applied for
a marriage license last Wednesday.
“Today's marriages will allow couples
in Washington, DC to take care of and provide for each other and
their families – rights that all Americans deserve,” Jarrett
Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement. “More and more, lawmakers
and the public are recognizing that gay and lesbian families deserve
equal protections under the law.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's
largest gay advocate, hosted three morning ceremonies in their DC
One of the first couples to marry at
the event was Angelisa Young, 47, and Sinjolya Townsend, 41. The
women have been together for 13 years and have two adult children.
All Souls Church, the gay-inclusive
Unitarian church where Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the gay marriage
bill approved by lawmakers in December, planned an afternoon wedding.
As the parties got started, the
National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most
vociferous opponent of gay marriage, renewed its call for repeal of
“The City Council not only passed gay
marriage, it went the next extraordinary step and claimed the right
to block citizens from voting on gay marriage,” Brian Brown,
executive director of NOM, said in a statement. “Their legal
arguments are quite weak, but as we all know, in a world with too
many activist judges that doesn't really matter. Politically, it is
remarkable to see politicians claim that the right to gay marriage
trumps the people's right to vote.”
“Don't believe the lies. It's not
over in DC by any means,” he added.
NOM said it would continue its push to
put the issue up for a vote in the District. The group is appealing
a DC high court ruling that denied such a request.
Opponents also attempted to block the
start of law by appealing to the Supreme Court, but Chief
Justice John Roberts rebuffed their challenge. Congress, which
has final say on the laws approved by the City Council, ignored the
pleas of opponents to interfere.
Five mostly New England states have
legalized gay marriage, including Connecticut, Vermont,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Iowa. Maine lawmakers approved a
gay marriage law last year, but the law was repealed by voters before
it took effect.
Two nearby states where gay marriage is
not legal – Maryland
and New York – have indicated they would recognize legal gay
marriages performed outside their borders.