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Same-sex couples in D.C. say 'I do'

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DC's first same-sex marriage
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tuesday is first day same-sex couples in Washington, D.C., can legally marry
  • Supreme Court last week rejected bid by residents that would have blocked law
  • Mayor Adrian Fenty signed measure into law in December, after council passed it

Washington (CNN) -- A lesbian couple together for more than a decade smiled through tears Tuesday as they became the first same-sex couple to marry in the District of Columbia, on the first day such unions are legal in the nation's capital.

Sinjoyla Townsend and Angelisa Young said they had waited years to marry. They were first in line last week to apply for a marriage license at Washington's marriage bureau.

"You are my friend, my partner, my love," Young, 47, told Townsend, 41. "I will love you today, tomorrow and forever."

After the wedding, those present cheered as the two women embraced and cried. They have been together for 12 years and have children, according to biographical information released by the Human Rights Campaign and D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality.

The new law survived a Supreme Court challenge. The measure went into effect last week, but couples had to hold off until Tuesday because of the district's three-day waiting period.

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"We're very excited," Townsend said last week. She and Young were among 100 couples applying for licenses.

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The district joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont in allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the Washington measure into law in December after the city council overwhelming passed it. It then went through a review period, during which Congress had an opportunity to intervene.

The Supreme Court last week rejected a request from a group of Washington residents to keep the law from going into effect. Local courts had previously turned down lawsuits to block it.

Opponents of the law say city residents should have had a chance to vote on the issue before the city council passed it. They hope to force a ballot initiative to overturn the law.

Also among the first couples to marry Tuesday were Reggie Stanley and Rocky Galloway, both 50. The couple have two daughters, Malena and Zoe Stanley-Galloway, each 15 months old, according to the biographical information released by the equality groups.

Also married on Tuesday were the Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, 61, and the Rev. Lorilyn Candy Holmes, 53, of Laurel, Maryland. Both of them serve in leadership roles in the Metropolitan Community Church. The women are mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, according to the groups.

During Garner and Holmes' ceremony, a representative from their families read a statement blessing the marriage.

 
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