- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

District of Columbia lawmakers will hold a final vote Tuesday on whether to legalize same-sex marriages in the nation’s capital.

Eleven of the D.C. Council’s 13 members are expected to vote in favor of the legislation. Former Mayor Marion Barry, a Democrat, is one of the members who plan to vote “no” because residents and religious leaders in his predominantly black ward are largely opposed.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, said he would sign the bill immediately, if passed. However, the legislation is subject to a 30-day congressional review before it can become law.

The District would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in performing same-sex marriages, if the legislation passes. New Hampshire will begin performing them in January.

District 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.

The final vote could include amendments to address those concerns.

Bishop Harry Jackson, leader of Stand for Marriage DC, is a major opponent of the bill and is asking Republicans and conservative Democrats on Capitol Hill to address the issue before their holiday recess.

“I think that’s what’s going to move people — outrage with a sense of urgency,” he said.

At least one congressional chamber must be in session to count toward the 30-day review period.

Reporter David C. Lipscomb contributed to this report.

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