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The Archdiocese of Washington pledged continued dialogue with the District of Columbia’s City Council to seek “a balance of interests in the legislation” after the council gave preliminary approval on Dec. 1 to a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. By an 11-to-2 vote the council passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009. The bill will eventually be sent to Washington’s Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has said he will sign it. District laws also are subject to congressional review under the Home Rule Charter. “As the legislation moves forward, the Archdiocese of Washington will continue its dialogue with the council,” Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said in a statement on Dec. 1. Archdiocesan officials have expressed concern that the bill as written would severely limit the ability of its local Catholic Charities USA office to work with the city in serving the poor. But they also have emphasized that the agency will continue to serve the city’s poor regardless of the outcome of the same-sex marriage bill.

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