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Weddings for gay couples Saturday

First Congregational United Church of Christ will host wedding ceremonies for gay couples on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. as part of the nationwide Join the Impact movement.

Any couple can marry that morning, and all attendees will be invited to sign letters to President-elect Barack Obama asking him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

The online organization Join the Impact began after the passage of Proposition 8 in California that banned same-sex marriage. The group has since hosted monthly simultaneous protests across the country.

"The purpose of the national event is to basically take to the streets again and let people know that Barack Obama made a lot of promises to the community, specifically, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and we're gathering signature to send along with everybody else to make sure he stays on top of this," said Leslie A. Stone, the local organizer. "We want Obama to follow through on what he said when he courted our votes."

The federal act, which defines marriage as between a man and woman, was signed into law in 1996. It also gives states the right not to recognize same-sex partnerships that originated in other states. Join the Impact would also like to see the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act signed into law, ensuring workers cannot be singled out due to sexual orientation.

The local branch of Join the Impact hosted a protest in Medford in November and a candlelight vigil on the plaza in December, Stone said. They are also planning a February event.