WASHINGTON — Before a jubilant crowd at a northwest Washington church, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty officially legalized same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital, signing the bill passed earlier this week by the DC Council.
In his opening remarks in the ceremony at All Souls Unitarian Church on Friday morning, Fenty recalled that when his own parents were married, many states would have refused to recognize their bonds. Fenty’s father is black, while his mother is white.
“Today an era of struggle ends for thousands of D.C. residents,” he said. “Our city is taking a leap forward.”
Congress has final say over D.C.’s laws, however, so the mayor’s signature doesn’t mean the bill immediately becomes law.
It must pass a 30-day period of Congressional review, in which Congress could reject it, but Democratic leaders have suggested they are reluctant to do so.
If Congress decides to intervene, both the House and Senate chambers would need to oppose the bill, and a joint resolution would need to be signed by President Obama in order to nullify the measure.
If no resolution is submitted, or if Obama does not sign on, the law will automatically go into effect, and gay couples could begin marrying as early as March.
However, some members of Congress could still attempt to attach an amendment overturning the bill to another piece of legislation, which is reportedly being considered by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
Following the signing, Fenty distributed ceremonial pens to the DC Council members standing behind him.
Ceremony photo: Sarah Massey via Twitpic