A D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage opponents do not have a right to call for a referendum to determine whether such unions should be legal in the District.
-- From "D.C. judge rules against marriage referendum" by Tim Craig, Washington Post Staff Writer 1/15/10
The decision, a major victory for gay rights activists, makes it more likely that the District will begin allowing same-sex couples to marry in March.
In the 23-page ruling, Judge Judith N. Macaluso affirmed a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision that city law disallows the ballot proposal because it would promote discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Macaluso also concluded that previous court decisions outlawing same-sex marriage in the District are no longer valid.
The election board has twice ruled that a referendum on same-sex marriage would violate a city election law prohibiting such a vote on a matter covered by the Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination against gays and other minority groups.
Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, appealed that ruling to Superior Court.
. . . Jackson and his attorneys said Thursday that they will appeal Macaluso's ruling. They contend that that the laws in question were written in the late 1970s, long before same-sex marriage was an issue, and should not prevent a referendum.
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.
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