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Gay Marriage Laws in District of Columbia

District Of Columbia

In 2009, the District of Columbia passed a law that legally allows for same sex marriage. In fact, couples have begun to apply for licenses and same sex marriages have begun to take place. Couples must wait three full business days after receiving their license before they can get married. Sinjoyla Townsend and Angelisa Young became the first couple to enter into a legal same sex marriage in the District of Columbia after becoming the first couple to apply for a license. Same sex marriage licenses were available to the public beginning on March 3, 2010. The couple was married on March 9, 2010.

Residents of the District have been free to register as domestic partners since 1992. In addition, the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Act of 2009, allowed the District to begin recognizing civil unions and domestic partnerships from other states. In addition, the Act grants the mayor the right to grant greater rights to partnerships from states that offered lesser or unequal rights to those couples.

Same sex marriages became legal due to the passing of the Religious Freedom And Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act. After the act was passed, it was subject to a congressional review period of 30 days. Like expected, congress did nothing to prevent the Act from becoming legal. Legal same sex marriages began to take place in the District of Columbia on March 9, 2010.Those opposed to same sex marriages filed a lawsuit to block legal same sex marriages, claiming that residents should have been able to vote on the issue, but the lawsuit was rejected by the courts.


Judge Roberts ruled that decisions regarding same sex marriages, were the responsibility of the local courts because it is a local issue. In addition, he reiterated that Congress could have prevented the legal recognition of same sex marriage in the District of Columbia, but they failed to do so. While Judge Roberts refused to hear arguments regarding same sex marriage laws in the District of Columbia, he also stated that the debate was not likely to end. In fact, he expected arguments to continue and predicted that the case would be heard in court.

In the mean time, same sex marriage is legally allowed and recognized, in the District of Columbia and many couples have already begun to take advantage of the new law. In fact, many people are celebrating the legal recognition of same sex marriages by taking part in a large LGBT wedding in the Capitol. Four hundred LGBT couples plan to marry in the Capitol on March 20, 2010.

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