Thursday, January 14, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: DC Superior Court Rejects Anti-LGBT Forces Bid for Marriage Equality Referendum

Anti-marriage equality forces appealed DC's Board of Elections and Ethics decision in November, rejecting a public referendum on the District's new marriage equality law. They cited the jurisdiction's Human Rights Act.

Led by Harry Bishop Jackson and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), opponents of same-sex marriage appealed. Today, DC's Superior Court ruled against them. From the Washington Post:
A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage opponents do not have a right to hold a public referendum on whether those marriages should be legal in the District.

The ruling, a major victory for gay rights activists, makes it more likely that the District will start allowing same-sex couples to marry in March.


Opponents probably will appeal Thursday's ruling to an appellate court. Still, they are running out of options to block same-sex marriages in the District. Congress has begun the required 30-legislative-day review of the same-sex marriage bill signed into law last month by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
The last One remaining hurdle, for the new marriage law is Congressional review, a 30-day period for Congress to intervene. However, it doesn't look like there will be any action from Congress, and representatives who oppose marriage equality don't have the momentum to interfere. The other hurdle facing the law is the Court of Appeals.

City officials expect the law to go into effect the first week of March.


  1. Welcome back, UTF. Your post above says that the "last hurdle" is Congressional review. Not true. The last and most significant hurdle is the appeal to the Court of Appeals, which the anti-gays have confirmed will happen. The Court of Appeals is not bound by the Superior Court ruling. If they came down the other way, then we would certainly have a referendum battle. And this one would be nastier than any that have gone before, since it almost certainly would be racialized by the anti-gays.

    I think we will win at the Court of Appeals, but that is clearly the battle that everyone should be focusing on.

  2. You are correct. I do quote WaPo that they intend appeal, though I considered when writing the post that the Court of Appeals could hear the case rather quickly to give Congress time to consider their ruling.

    I took my cue from the WaPo story, which stated:

    "Despite opponents' plans to appeal, they are running out of time to block same-sex marriages in the District. Congress has begun the required 30-legislative-day review of the same-sex marriage law.

    City leaders said that, barring intervention by Congress, marriage licenses will be available to same-sex couples around the first week of March."

    Thank you for pointing this out. I always rely on my readers to help identify anything I may have overlooked.