Same-sex couples began applying for marriage licenses today in the District of Columbia. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act was passed this fall by an overwhelming majority of the D.C. Council before Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the measure into law in mid-December. D.C. joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa and New Hampshire in extending full marriage equality to same-sex couples.
Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
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"This is a profoundly moving moment for many D.C. same-sex couples and their families. To finally be able to share and celebrate one's love and commitment both publicly and legally is a lifelong dream for many. As a D.C. resident, I am personally proud of the council and mayor for standing so strongly for fairness and for affirming the common humanity that bonds each of us. We offer our sincerest thanks to them and to the many groups and individuals who worked so hard to bring us to this historic day, with special mention to Councilmember David Catania, Mayor Adrian Fenty, the Campaign for All D.C. Families, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, D.C. for Marriage, and D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality, who are among those who had a vision for equality, pursued it with clarity and persistence, and won.
"We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the couples heading to the courthouse today to apply for their marriage licenses, and to the many others who will follow. Until you have walked in the shoes of someone who has been denied the right to exercise such a fundamental freedom, it is hard to comprehend the emotional depth and significance of this experience for so many couples in Washington, D.C."
Lambda Legal issued the following statement from National Marriage Project Director Jennifer C. Pizer:
"We are inspired and proud that the District of Columbia is providing an important example for our country as a whole by joining the ranks of states that honor the full humanity and dignity of all their residents. As did residents of Massachusetts, and more recently Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Vermont, those who live in Washington, D.C. now will have the chance to wonder what all the fuss was about as they see first-hand that allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn't endanger or harm anyone else. Instead, all of society is strengthened when every family is accorded the same equal respect under law. We call on elected and community leaders coast-to-coast to follow the principled example of the D.C. City Council and work to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in their states."
"This law is an important step towards equal dignity, equal respect and equal rights for all residents of our nation's capital," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Starting today, same-sex couples in D.C. will be able to enjoy all the rights and responsibilities that come with civil marriage. At the same time, the law also preserves the right of clergy and congregations to adhere to their faith traditions. Today represents a hard-fought victory for D.C. residents and a poignant reminder here in the home of our federal government and most cherished national monuments of the historic progress being made towards ensuring equality for all across the nation."
Statement by Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, on the Freedom to Marry in the District of Columbia:
"Today is a day of jubilation as Washington D.C. joins the five states and eight countries where same-sex couples now share in the freedom to marry. The issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in America's capital marks a significant victory for the national movement to secure the freedom to marry, and a great joy for D.C. couples who no longer need to leave home to secure the protections and responsibilities of marriage for their families. As our nation's lawmakers mingle with committed couples living more securely than before and witness first-hand that the sky does not fall, it will be evident that there is no good reason for denying gay couples the freedom to marry, and every reason to end the federal discrimination against married couples inflicted through the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act.'"