A District of Columbia appeals court Friday unanimously rejected an attempt to stop the city from recognizing same-sex marriages next month.
Same-sex marriage ceremonies in the city are expected to begin as early as Wednesday.
Peter J. Nickles, attorney general for the District, said the ruling by the court's three judges was based upon a motion filed by his office arguing why the court should not approve a last-minute delay.
The judges' one-page opinion in the case, Jackson v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, said they provided only the legal basis for their decision: that a temporary injunction is granted only when the plaintiff would likely win the case or when allowing something to go forward would bring harm to the plaintiff.
The 13-member City Council voted in December in favor of the Marriage Equality Act. The bill was promptly signed by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat.
The vote was 11-2, with the group's two openly gay members voting yes.
D.C. churches are exempt from having to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies. But the bill does not have the support of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, which has concerns about the cost of Catholic Charities having to extend services to spouses in same-sex marriages.
If the bill becomes law, the District will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in performing same-sex marriages. New Hampshire will begin performing them in January.
Same-sex marriage was approved last year in California, but the practice later was struck down by a voter referendum.
Republicans in Congress have said they lack the votes to successfully oppose the bill.
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