Sunday, December 20, 2009

Marriage Equality Recognized In Nation's Capital

Following disappointing defeats for marriage equality in New York and Maine, Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (left) signed a same-sex marriage bill. While the bill has to clear a congressional review period, Fenty was confident that the Democratic-controlled Congress will not stand in the way.

Speaking at the signing in All Souls Unitarian Church, which has embraced gay rights, Fenty emphasized that marriage equality has deep meaning to him given his interracial background:

"Marriage inequality is a civil rights, political, social, moral and religious issue in this country and many nations," Fenty said. "And as a I sign this act into law, the District, from this day forward, will set the tone for other jurisdictions to follow in creating an open and inclusive city."

In an unusually emotional speech for Fenty, the mayor said his parents moved from Buffalo to Washington in 1967 because they wanted to marry and their parents were furious about their interracial relationship.

"My parents know a little something about marriage equality," Fenty told about 150 activists and gay couples who crammed into the church.

Phil Fenty, who is black, and Jan Fenty, who is white, said they had not attended any other bill-signing ceremony in the three years their son has been mayor. But they had to be there Friday, they said, and they were proud that their son had embraced the lessons of equality he was taught as a boy.

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