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Posted at 9:18 AM ET, 03/ 3/2010

Wednesday news roundup

By Washington Post editors

Good morning.

A big day for same-sex couples. Gay couples in the District begin applying for marriage licenses Wednesday after Chief Justice John G. Roberts on Tuesday denied a last-minute request from opponents to block implementation of the District's same-sex marriage law until it could be put to a public vote. Even before D.C.'s marriage bureau opened its doors at 8:30 a.m., about 45 couples were waiting outside in the drizzle. The bureau is expecting big crowds Wednesday and is urging couples to have patience.

The Post’s Michael Laris talked to one couple about their wedding plans. But the change in the law has not been universally welcomed. Catholic Charities recently changed its benefit policy to avoid having to offer coverage to same-sex couples. In a meeting with The Post, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl defended the decision saying the change is justifiable under Catholic teachings as long as workers are paid a living wage.

D.C. isn't the only place where gay marriage will become legal this week. On Thursday, it will become legal for gay couples to marry in Mexico City.

If you're planning on getting married, you can download your marriage license application here.

Metro may have a new leader. Metro is close to naming an interim general manager to replace John B. Catoe, Jr. who is scheduled to leave his job April 2. He is former New Jersey transit chief Richard Sarles. If he accepts the job, Sarles would serve for six to 12 months, while the transit agency completes its search for a permanent GM. If voted in by the board, Sarles would lead the troubled agency as it faces crucial safety and budgetary issues.

What's next for Marion Barry? Marion Barry tells Post columnist Courtland Milloy: “. . . I’ve been through worse,” and those who’ve followed his troubled career are likely to agree. But Tuesday’s 12-0 vote to censure the councilman and strip him of his committee chairmanship was clearly a blow. Still, even after the vote, Barry was embraced by his Ward 8 constituents when he appeared for a previously scheduled “State of the Ward” speech. WJLA has video. Also WUSA. Barry may have taken comfort from his constituents, but he must now wait to see whether the U.S. attorney's office will pursue charges.

Accokeek street racer sentenced. One of two drivers involved in an illegal street race accident that killed eight in Prince George’s County last year, was sentenced Tuesday and will spend 15 years in prison. Speaking for the first time since the tragedy, Darren J. Bullock, 22, said: "I understand the great pain the accident has caused and I accept responsibility for my actions."
A jury deadlocked on the most serious charges facing the second driver involved in the race but convicted him of two traffic offenses, which carry a fine but no jail time. A retrial for Tavon Taylor on vehicular manslaughter has been set for Oct. 18.

Perdue sued. Environmental activists have filed suit against poultry giant Perdue Farms and an Eastern Shore farm where Perdue chickens are raised. The suit charges that manure-laden runoff from the farm is polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

Be our friend. The Virginia State Police have unveiled a new crime fighting tool: Facebook. (WJLA)

In short: WSSC approves an 8.5 percent rate increase. (The Gazette); A post office in Southeast D.C. has closed because of lead contamination. (WUSA); Prince William County may be the latest jurisdiction to raise property taxes. (The Examiner); A new poll says many Marylanders would support a 10-cent tax on alcohol. (WAMU)

Has Spring sprung? So much going on we almost forgot about the weather. The Capital Weather Gang says we'll have light snow and rain with highs near 40. The best part: they’re predicting it will be the last wintry day we’re going to see in awhile: Woo hoo!

And finally, just in time for Oscar season, WJLA offers this exclusive look at Sandra Bullock's childhood home in Virginia.

Thanks for reading. Have an excellent day. Check back with us for more news and headlines or follow us on Twitter @postmetro.

By Washington Post editors  | March 3, 2010; 9:18 AM ET
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