By Katherine Mangu-Ward
In D.C., getting gay married is now almost exactly like buying a handgun. Like handgun ownership, gay marriage was illegal until very recently, and both require massive amounts of paperwork and a waiting period. But today was the first day D.C.'s gay couples could apply for a license, and apply they did!
Meanwhile, Catholic Charities is getting out of the foster care business in the District, since they will no longer be allowed to discriminate against (married) gay couples looking to foster a kid. (Presumably they were previously discriminating on the basis of marital status, but that technicality has now been removed). Cases like this are another reminder that it would be great to have government out of the marriage business entirely—since the D.C. government says who is married and who is not—and who gets protection from discrimination—it's an all-or-nothing situation that provokes all-or-nothing responses along the lines of the Church's "I'm taking my foster care program and I'm going home!"
But failing the realization of a libertarian utopia in the nation's capital, it's great that D.C.'s gay families now have the option to get the legal recognition the rest of us already enjoy.
(Disclosure: I had the legalities of my straight marriage performed in Virginia, despite having the wedding festivities in D.C.'s Dupont Circle and being a resident of the District. This was largely because I was annoyed at the city's three-business-day waiting period and mandatory syphilis test. Next up: Making it possible for all of D.C.'s gay citizens to celebrate the right to get married by refusing to get married in the District because the process is ridiculously bureaucratic. I'm looking at you, Virginia.)
I wrote about the D.C's gay wedding bling options here.