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Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 12/18/2009

Fenty signs gay marriage bill into law

By Mike McPhate

UPDATE: Mayor Fenty signed the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, distributing the ceremonial pens among the Council members, who stood behind him. The law now will go through a period of review consisting of 30 days in which Congress is in session. If the law passes that hurdle -- as is widely expected -- the first gay marriages in the District could take in late winter or early spring of 2010.

EARLIER: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is getting ready to sign legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the District at All Souls Unitarian Church in Northwest D.C.

"Today an era of struggle ends for thousands of D.C. residents," he said. "Our city is taking a leap forward."

Sponsoring Council member David Catania (I-At Large) opened his comments with a little family history recalling how his ancestors had moved from Massachusetts to Kansas to try and swing an election and prevent it from becoming a slave state.

"So there's a tradition of troublemaking in my family, and a deep and abiding understanding of civil rights," Catania said.

Council member Jim Graham, whose district is playing host to the bill signing, offered his praise for the mayor's staunch support of gay marriage.

"From the very beginning of this discussion, there was one certainty ... and that certainty was that once we passed the bill, this man would sign it." Graham said. "We're here today to do just that."

By Mike McPhate  | December 18, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  DC  
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Signing this bill in a church is a big mistake. The argument has always been that religion does not have the right to dictate to government what the definition of marriage is. A religious organization may define marriage for its own internal purposes, but the government must abide by the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection. This should have been done in the city hall lobby, not a church.

Posted by: ksu499 | December 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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