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Here come the grooms



With the city’s historic same-sex marriage law expected to take effect in less than three weeks, the application form for a marriage license at the D.C. Superior Court still leaves space only for the names of bride and groom.

But a spokesperson for D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At Large), author of the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act, said the marriage license application form is among a few last-minute details that the city and the court are expected to address in the next two weeks.

The law that Catania wrote and the City Council approved allows partners to describe themselves on a marriage license as a bride, groom or spouse.

Ben Young, Catania’s chief of staff, told DC Agenda this week that the form change was “being worked on.”

“Should the D.C. bill become law, the court will be ready on the effective date with forms for applicants to use that refer to spouses, not brides and grooms,” said Superior Court spokesperson Leah Gurowitz.

For same-sex couples planning to wed in the District after the new law takes effect March 3, a civil wedding at the courthouse or a religious wedding from an LGBT-friendly place of worship will be available to them.

Under city law, all couples seeking to be married must apply for and receive a marriage license, which costs $35. The application for the license can be obtained online at, but it must be submitted and paid for in person.

Also under D.C. law, the minimum age for obtaining a marriage license without the need for parental consent is 18. A marriage license for people between the ages of 16 and 17 can be obtained only with the consent of a parent or legal guardian, and no one under age 16 can marry.

“When applying for a marriage license, you may request a civil wedding, specifying the date and time you would like to be married, at least 10 days from the date of application,” according to the Marriage Bureau Section of the court’s web site.

The site says a court clerk will contact the applicants to confirm the date and make final arrangements for a civil ceremony, which is performed by a court official in a designated room at the courthouse. The courthouse is located at 500 Indiana Ave., N.W.

According to the court’s web site, the “marriage ceremony room” holds about one dozen guests. A certified copy of the marriage license can be obtained on the day of the ceremony for $10. There is no fee for the ceremony or use of the room, but wedding participants are asked to consider making a tax-deductable donation to the D.C. Superior Court Art Trust Fund.

Unlike some jurisdictions, judges in D.C. don’t routinely perform civil marriages, although some judges do so for couples with whom they are personal friends, according to a court source who spoke on condition of not being identified. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is not authorized to perform civil marriages under city law.

“The Clerk of the Court, and those he deputizes, may perform marriages at the courthouse, as well as judges,” Gurowitz said. “Generally, judges do not perform courthouse weddings, as they are on the bench with their calendars to handle during weekday work hours.”

Gurowitz declined to say whether court personnel authorized to perform civil marriages would be allowed to decline to perform a same-sex marriage if they have religious or moral objections to such marraiges, as is the case in some states.

“We do not comment on personnel and staffing matters,” she said.

Several D.C. clergy members said this week that despite the vocal opposition to same-sex marriage from some local clergy, a large number of clergy and their places of worship stand ready and willing to perform gay weddings.

The new law allows clergy to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and refuse to allow their facilities to be used for such marriages if performing such marriages is contrary to their religious beliefs.

“We’re prepared to begin marrying same-sex couples as soon as the law goes into place,” said Rev. Robert Harties, pastor of All Souls Unitarian Church. “I’ve already been in conversation with members of my congregation who are interested in becoming married and who are making plans for their wedding dates.”

Harties serves as co-chair of D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality, which he said has close to 200 members. He noted that most members of the group, along with their respective churches or other places of worship, including synagogues, are planning to host same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Also looking forward to performing same-sex weddings are at least five LGBT-oriented churches or congregations in the city that have long performed same-sex commitment ceremonies. Among them are Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., Unity Fellowship and Inner Light Ministries, which provide Protestant services; Bet Mishpachah, widely known as the city’s LGBT syngogue; and Dignity Washington, which offers a weekly Mass for LGBT Catholics.

Rev. Dwayne Johnson, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church since January, said MCC churches across the country have performed what some of its members consider to be weddings since the church was founded in 1969.

“In a sense it was a form of political resistance on some level,” he said. “What was not accepted in the eyes of the state we felt was accepted in the eyes of God. So we will continue to bless relationships, and now to be able to do it legally is really exciting.”

Rev. Abena McCray, pastor of Unity Fellowship, which has a largely African-American protestant congregation, said the church is preparing to offer same-sex weddings when the D.C. gay marriage law takes effect.

Jack Hillelsohn, Bet Mispachah’s vice president for religious affairs, said the congregation’s rabbi, Toby Manewith, is a member of D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality and is excited about performing same-sex marriages.

“Kiddushin is the Hebrew word for marriage, and we have performed these in the past without legal standing,” Hillesohn said. “There’s always been the need for this ceremony, and now we’re pleased to be able to do it with full legal standing.”

Ray Panas, president of Dignity Washington, said the LGBT Catholic group recognizes that plans to arrange for Catholic same-sex marriage ceremonies in D.C. will face difficulties given the Catholic Church’s strong opposition to same-sex marriage. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is expected to prohibit diocesan priests from performing same-sex marriages.

But Panas said priests associated with Catholic orders or societies independent of the archdiocese have often celebrated the Catholic Mass for Dignity members. He noted that the group is hopeful some arrangements can be made for a priest to perform same-sex marriages for its members.

Under D.C. law, clergy who are licensed and credentialed under their respective religious faiths must also obtain a city license to perform a marriage. Johnson and McCray aren’t currently licensed to perform marriages, but the two said they are taking immediate steps to obtain a license, which is also issued at the D.C. Superior Court.

Harties and officials with the four LGBT-oriented congregations said their respective congregations have long offered various forms of relationship counseling for couples contemplating marriage or domestic partnerships. They said they would continue this practice with same-sex couples seeking to marry.

However, gay rights attorneys have advised same-sex couples considering marriage to be aware of local divorce laws in the event that a relationship ends and a separation is sought.

One aspect of the D.C. divorce laws that could be a factor for same-sex couples who come to the District from other states to marry is a six-month residency requirement. Either spouse must be a city resident for at least six months before the couple is eligible to file for divorce.

Other aspects of the city’s divorce laws, including options of both no-fault and fault filings and property distribution and child custody and support provisions, can be reviewed in the divorce section of the Superior Court’s web site.


District of Columbia

Point Foundation offers growing range of scholarships, support

‘Resources to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through’



Celina Gerbic, a member of the Point Foundation’s board of directors, speaks at last year’s event. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Many in D.C. know the Point Foundation for its longstanding scholarship program and its popular Taste of Point fundraiser each spring. But the nonprofit is offering a growing range of services to its young scholars, including mental health resources and social media support.

This year’s Taste of Point brought mixologists, restaurateurs, and donors together on May 3 at Room and Board for the annual celebration. With a number of local businesses and organizations donating to the silent auction, the event both raised money for Point Foundation’s scholarships while recognizing scholarship recipients and program alumni.

Among the lineup of featured speakers was one of the foundation’s flagship scholarship recipients, Rio Dennis, a dual master’s and law candidate at Georgetown University.

“I applied for the Point Foundation Flagship Scholarship because I believed in its mission of helping LGBTQ+ students achieve their academic goals while also providing training and resources so we can become better leaders within the LGBTQ community during school and long term,” Dennis said in her speech. 

The Taste of Point celebration began in 2013, born from another event called the Cornerstone Reception. Originally planned as a normal fundraiser with hor d’oeuvres, the foundation transformed it into the current Taste of Point celebration that facilitates partnerships with new, local restaurants.

Some restaurants, like Compass Rose and Hank’s Oyster Bar, partnered with Point Foundation for their first celebration. They have been catering at the fundraiser ever since.

“It really gives you the sense of the amount of love and the amount of community that we have around the Point Foundation and mission,” said Celina Gerbic, a member on the foundation’s board of directors. “They really see, with hearing from the scholars, what the effects can be if we’re raising money for those scholarships and mentoring opportunities.”

The event also allows the foundation to showcase new offerings, such as the Community College Scholarship that was rolled out just before the pandemic in collaboration with Wells Fargo. The community college program gives scholars a financial scholarship each year of their community college experience as well as coaching and admissions counseling for students planning to transfer to a university. 

Meanwhile, the foundation is also expanding its new BIPOC scholarship, which announced its next round of recipients on May 22. The scholarship is currently supporting between 500 and 555 scholars across the country.

Omari Foote, one of the current BIPOC scholarship recipients, appreciates how the scholarship recognizes her as a Black queer student. She is even encouraging other queer students and friends to apply to receive similar assistance.

However, Point is even more than that, Dennis notes. 

Before the school year started, the Point Foundation sent Dennis and all of the new flagship scholars to Los Angeles for a leadership development conference. Scholars discussed how to become active leaders on campus, how to ask for certain resources, what is offered by their campuses, and what tutoring programs are available.

This year, Point also did a joint partnership with an online therapy program to offer discounted prices for all scholars. 

“I have anxiety and depression and I struggled a lot in undergrad with trying to balance that with my having to support myself financially,” Dennis said. “So I was definitely grateful that Georgetown did have a program that is specifically for people of color to get free therapy and Point definitely helped with… asking those questions because it is one of those programs that isn’t as well publicized.”

Point even provided Dennis with a mentor who was also a Point Scholar in law school. Meeting monthly on Zoom and texting all throughout the month, Dennis’s mentor provides academic support that helps her use the right resources and make decisions about her career.

Foote finds the scholarship unique in other ways as well. As a recipient of a handful of other scholarships outside of Point, Foote’s interactions with her scholarship programs mostly stop after they send instructions for writing donor thank you notes. But Point keeps reaching out to maintain a relationship with scholars long after that.

“They’ve reached out to me to spotlight me on Instagram,” Foote said. “They reached out to me even for this dinner, paying for my transportation to and from the dinner … It’s like they’re not just there to give you the money. They’re there to really help you navigate the college world and to be that caring supportive system that a lot of us just don’t have anymore now that we are living by ourselves.”

Last November, the foundation also held an Out in Higher Ed Week, wherein they teach scholars how to be LGBTQ+ advocates on campus. These resources help students navigate the ins and outs of discussing LGBTQ+ issues in university settings.

After graduation, Dennis has even thought about returning to the Point Foundation as a mentor to help future Black queer students, especially first generation law students, balance their mental health and financial situations.

“Point has connected me with fellow scholars who have become my friends. Point has provided me with resources and support to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through,” Dennis said. “I definitely plan on continuing to be involved with Point.”

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District of Columbia

D.C.’s Pride celebrations include parade, festival, fireworks, and more

More than 100 events for all ages planned for June



The Blade’s Pride on the Pier returns June 10 with the region’s only Pride fireworks display at 9 p.m.

More than 100 different events for all ages and interests will take place in D.C. for Pride month.

The Capital Pride Alliance will officially kick off Pride month on Thursday with a show from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour, the 17th Official D.C. Latinx Pride Party and more at Bunker (2001 14th St., N.W.)

Capital Pride on Friday will hold Capital Pride Honors at Penn Social (801 E St., N.W.). Capital Pride every Pride month honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on D.C.’s LGBTQ community. Among the honorees this year is the National LGBTQ Task Force, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Washington Nationals will host the 17th annual Pride Night Out on June 6. With the purchase of a Pride ticket, attendees will receive a Pride T-shirt and $5 from their ticket will go to support Team DC, which helps to support the LGBTQ community in sports.

D.C.’s largest Pride event, the Capital Pride Parade, will take place on June 10. The parade will follow a 1.5-mile route, which will step off on 14th Street at T Street, N.W., and finish on P Street at 21st Street N.W. A map of the expected parade route can be found on the Capital Pride website

During the parade, the Capital Block Party will take place at the intersection of Q and 17th Streets. The party will feature local vendors, food trucks and a 21+ beverage garden. The party will also have a designated viewing area for families with children to watch the parade, along with other children’s activities. 

The Wharf will be home to the fourth annual Pride on the Pier during the parade, hosted by the Washington Blade, LURe DC and the Wharf. The event, held from 2-9 p.m., will feature a fireworks show at 9 p.m., a DJ, drag performances, and more. VIP tickets are available in two shifts, offering catered food, open bar, and more. The fireworks display is sponsored by the Leonard-Litz LGBTQ Foundation. For more information and to buy VIP tickets, visit General admission to the festivities on the pier is free.

The parade will be followed by the Capital Pride Festival on June 11. Taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., the festival will feature more than 300 booths with local vendors, businesses and organizations. From 12-8 p.m., the Capital Pride Concert will host acts such as Broadway actress Idina Menzel and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Monét X Change.

From June 5-Aug. 11, ARTECHOUSE will be exhibiting its newest exhibit “PIXELBLOOM: Timeless Butterflies.” Visitors can use the promo code “PRIDE20” to get 20 percent off their ticket during Pride month.

Throughout the summer, Capital Pride will also host a variety of online events. In partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Capital Pride will host Youth in Action: Wearing Our PRIDE, which will feature young indigenous activists working toward social justice. Capital Pride will also host Zoom affinity support groups and social hours.

Further details and a full calendar of events can be found on the Capital Pride website.

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Arts & Entertainment

Must-attend D.C. Pride events for 2023

Don’t miss out on these fun events during D.C. Pride



Pride Month has arrived, bringing along a vibrant array of events to explore throughout the month of June. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in our favorite events over the upcoming weeks!


The Washington Blade, in partnership with LURe DC and The Wharf, is excited to announce the 4th annual Pride on the Pier and Fireworks show during DC Pride weekend on Saturday, June 10, 2023, from 2-9 p.m.

The event will include the annual Pride on the Pier Fireworks Show presented by the Leonard-Litz Foundation at 9 p.m.

3PM: Drag Show

4PM: Capital Pride Parade Viewing on the Big Screen

9PM: Fireworks Show presented by the Leonard-Litz Foundation


Once again we’re celebrating Pride in DC with the release of Pride Pils!

The 2023 design has been created and donated by the talented Chord Bezerra of District CO/OP.

Attendance is “FREE” but please RSVP via this Eventbrite or donating at the event to further support our non-profit partners SMYAL and The Blade Foundation. 100% will be donated. As always, DC Brau and Red Bear Brewing Co. will be donating all profit from the sale of this year’s Pride Pils to our non-profit partners.


Dupont Underground, in partnership with the Washington Blade presents The Ground We Stand On: Past and Present DC LGBTQ Changemakers. DC’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of countless individuals throughout the years. In recognition of their indomitable courage and resilience, an inspiring exhibition titled “The Ground We Stand On: Past and Present DC LGBTQ Changemakers” will showcase the remarkable journeys of both past and present changemakers who have left an indelible mark on the tapestry of Washington, DC. The exhibit underscores the enduring legacy of these remarkable individuals, serving as an inspiration for present and future generations. By shining a light on their remarkable contributions, this exhibition aims to empower and encourage the continuous evolution of the DC LGBTQ+ community and its influence that transcends boundaries.


Join Dupont Underground and the Washington Blade every Friday for Drag Underground. Featuring some of the best Drag Queens in DC!

Performers include Destiny B Childs, Elecktra Gee, Jane Saw, and Shi-Queeta Lee


metrobar prides itself on serving locally-produced beer, wine and spirits. As part of this mission, we are hosting a curated tasting event featuring Civic Vodka & Assembly Gin from local, woman-owned and operated distillery, Republic Restoratives. We will also have a selection of beers from DC Brau, including their annual Pride Pils for tasting.


Join Dupont Underground and the Washington Blade every Friday for Drag Underground. Featuring some of the best Drag Queens in DC!

Performers include Cake Pop, GiGI Paris Couture, Kabuki Bukkake, Delila B. Lee

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