Saturday, July 17, 2010

D.C. Same-sex Marriage to Supreme Court

Same-sex-marriage opponents in Washington, D.C., vowed to appeal to the nation's highest court after an appeals court Thursday upheld a city law allowing the unions and rejecting an effort by opponents to put the issue before voters.

-- From "D.C.: Gay marriage upheld" by Matthew Cella, Washington Times 7/15/10

"We will take it to the Supreme Court," said Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., who led a coalition of same-sex-marriage opponents that brought the court challenge.

In a 5-4 decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Superior Court ruling in January and an earlier ruling by the city's Board of Elections and Ethics that said a referendum on same-sex marriage would violate the city's Human Rights Act.

"Because appellants' proposed initiative would authorize, or have the effect of authorizing, discrimination on a basis prohibited by the Human Rights Act, it was not a proper subject of initiative," Judge Phyllis D. Thompson wrote in the court's 54-page decision.

But in a 27-page dissent, Judge John R. Fisher wrote that the D.C. Council exceeded its authority when it said that a ballot initiative could not violate the Human Rights Act.

"Even if we assume that the people at large are more likely to discriminate against minorities than are their elected representatives, appellees forget that there are numerous checks and balances in place here to protect against the tyranny of the majority," Judge Fisher wrote.

He pointed out that an initiative could be defeated at the polls, it could be disapproved by Congress, or it could be amended or repealed by the council.

Mr. Jackson and others had sought to have a referendum placed on the city's November ballot that said: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "D.C. Court of Appeals Bars City Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage; Appeal to Supreme Court Likely" by Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor 7/15/10

"We look forward to bringing our fight for the right to vote on marriage to the nation’s highest court," said Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage.

“The central issue in this case is whether the people of the District of Columbia will be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote on this important issue, just as voters in 31 states have been able to do,” Brown said.

“The razor-thin majority on the DC Appeals court got it wrong when they said they owed substantial deference to the DC Council. In fact, it is the right of the people that is owed substantial deference by courts and the Council. We believe the U.S. Supreme Court will agree with us,” Brown added.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.