D.C. Issues Homosexual Marriage Licenses
Special Report - March 4, 2010
Washington D.C. began issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples yesterday, officially joining five states in redefining marriage. By the afternoon of March 3the date D.C.’s same-sex “marriage” law went into effectmore than 50 same-sex couples had completed applications for marriage licenses at the District’s marriage bureau, while at least that many continued to wait in line. Marriage license applications for the District were changed to ask for the names of the “spouse” and “spouse,” rather than the “bride” and “groom.” The District requires applicants to wait three business days before receiving their marriage license, so those couples will not be able to “marry” until March 9, at the earliest.
The law was enacted in December 2009 by the D.C. City Council. All laws in the District are subject to a period of Congressional review, which ended March 3, thereby allowing the law to go into effect. Bishop Harry Jackson, with the legal support of Stand4MarriageDC and the Alliance Defense Fund, had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to delay implementation of the law until the D.C. Court of Appeals issues a ruling on whether the citizens of D.C. have a right to vote on the bill’s passage via referendum. The Supreme Court denied that request. The lawsuit challenging the marriage redefinition law is awaiting a decision from the D.C. Court of Appeals.
The law has already had an impact on more than marriage. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. announced in February that Catholic Charities was handing over its 80-year-old foster care and public adoption program to the National Center for Children and Families, rather than comply with a requirement that children be placed with homosexual couples, against church teaching. The Archdiocese’s decision joined the archdioceses of San Francisco and Boston in discontinuing adoption and foster care services in the wake of same-sex “marriage.”
Additionally, Catholic Charities announced this week that no new spouses will be allowed to be added to the employee health plan for the group’s roughly 850 employees. According to Erik Salmi, a spokesman for Catholic Charities, the move is necessary due to the extremely limited religious exemptions in the bill that would have required coverage of same-sex “spouses” in order for the group to continue to contract with the D.C. government in providing social services to tens of thousands of needy D.C. residents. Such partners must submit to the government that they are in compliance with all District laws. Only offering spousal coverage to heterosexual employees would have been a violation of the new law, so the group is discontinuing such coverage altogether for anyone who does not currently have it.
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