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Posted at 05:06 PM ET, 02/24/2012

Same-sex marriage in D.C.: A timeline

Gay couples in the District were allowed to marry beginning in March 2010. (MARVIN JOSEPH/TWP - THE WASHINGTON POST)

Maryland will become the eighth state to allow same-sex marriage, and the first below the Mason-Dixon line. But gay couples in the Free State’s neighbor, the District, began marrying in March 2010.

Gay marriage first became legalized in Massachusetts in 2004 after a state Supreme Court ruling. Massachusetts was followed by Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, D.C. and New York between 2008 and 2011.

Maryland’s bill was approved Thursday after a year-long battle and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) plans to sign it into law soon. Washington state’s legislature and governor aproved a bill to authorize gay marriage this month, and it will take effect in June unless opponents succeed in putting it to a referendum.

 D.C.’s attempt to allow gays to marry, however, began in 1975. Check out D.C.’s same-sex marriage timeline below.

1975: Then-council member Arrington Dixon (D) proposes legalizing same-sex marriage in the District. The proposal was subsequently squashed by opposition from city religious leaders.

1992: D.C. passes a law allowing domestic partnerships, but its funding is blocked by Congress until 2002.
D.C. began to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries in July 2009, but gay couples in the city weren’t able to legally wed until March 2010. (Tracy A Woodward - WASHINGTON POST)


July 7: D.C. begins to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

Dec. 15: The D.C. Council votes 11-2 to permit gay marriages.

Dec. 18: Then-mayor Adrian Fenty (D) signs the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. The bill must make it through a 30-day congressional review period before it can become law. Opponents plan to take the bill to the courts and Congress to stop it.


Jan. 14: A D.C. Superior Court judge rules that same-sex marriage opponents cannot call for a referendum.

March 3: Same-sex couples first begin to apply for marriage licenses.  Couples must wait the mandatory three days before marrying, like all
When Richard Imirowicz, far right, came to Washington in 1997, high up on his list of to-do's was "To find somebody and get into a relationship." He eventually would meet Terrence Heath, far left. They joined other Washington area gay couples on March 9, 2010 by legalizing their union. (Tracy A Woodward - WASHINGTON POST)
other couples.

July 15: The D.C. Court of Appeals votes 5-4, upholding gay marriage in city by saying the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics acted lawfully when it refused to have gay marriage put to a referendum.


Jan. 18: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the District’s same-sex marriage law. 

Staff researcher Lucy Shackelford contributed research.

By Stefanie Dazio  |  05:06 PM ET, 02/24/2012

Tags:  Washington, D.C. gay marriage

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