DC Same-Sex Marriages Postponed

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    The projected start date of gay marriages in Washington has slipped by a day.

    The city now says March 3, a Wednesday, will likely be the first day same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license in the city.

    The D.C. City Council passed a law in December that allows the unions, but because the city is under Congress' control the bill doesn't take effect until it has undergone a 30-day Congressional review period. Congress could act to stop the bill from taking effect, though that doesn't appear likely.

    Congress wasn't in session on one day, Feb. 12, that District officials thought it would be, lengthening by a day the time until same-sex couples can marry.

    Couples will still have to wait three full business days for their licenses before exchanging vows.

    And it seems more likely that such marriages will be recognized in Maryland. The state's highest court likely would rule that legal gay marriages in other states are valid in Maryland, Attorney General Doug Gansler said Wednesday, noting the matter "is not free from all doubt."

    Maryland law defines marriage as between a man and woman, but Gansler wrote that the state generally acknowledges couples married elsewhere.

    "While the matter is not free from all doubt, in our view, the court is likely to respect the law of other states and recognize a same-sex marriage contracted validly in another jurisdiction," Gansler, a Democrat, wrote in a 45-page opinion.

    While the opinion is not binding legally, it represents an interpretation that can guide a state agency. The attorney general's office would defend a state agency in court for recognizing a same-sex marriage from another state.