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-Washington DC Mayor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

by Dr. D ~ December 19th, 2009

Adrian Fenty
Image by Freedom To Marry via Flickr

On Friday District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the controversial Same –Sex Marriage bill that was passed on Tuesday by the district council. The measure now goes before the US Congress for a 30-day review period. The Congress has a right to review and overturn any laws created by the DC council but it is highly doubtful that it will be rejected by this Congress.

After 30 days , if not overturned, the bill will become law and the District of Columbia will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa along with New Hampshire in January as jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal.

Hundreds of DC area pastors had actively opposed the passage of the bill and had asked the council to place the measure before the people for a vote. Polls had consistently shown that the bill would have been easily defeated if the people living in the District had an opportunity to vote on it. however the council and the mayor declined to give the people a voice on the issue. Now the pastors will pressure the Congress to overturn the bill.

The Catholic DC Archdiocese is particularly concerned that part of the measure might restrict the church’s ability to provide charity services. The archdiocese argues that their religious freedom will now be restricted in DC by being forced to recognize and extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples in violation of its religious teachings.

Opponents have also pointed out that the bill could end up affecting both individuals and religious organizations who will be forced to obey D.C. laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Folks who provide wedding services like photographers, caterers, and florists could face charges of unlawful discrimination if they refuse their services to same-sex couples for reasons of religious conscience.

Religious organization like the Catholic Church who provide adoption services will also be affected along with churches who rent out their halls for secular events. The far reaching implications of the bill are difficult to measure but are sure to provide for numerous lawsuits in the future.

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