No marriage referendum for DC

by on January 19, 2011  •  In Uncategorized

The Supreme Court denied cert in Jackson v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, thus effectively insuring that there will be no referendum on the equal marriage law adopted by the DC City Council in 2010.

A group of clergy led by Bishop Harry Jackson had sought a ballot question on whether overturn the marriage equality  provision, but the Board of Elections refused to authorize it.The DC Initiative Procedures Act stipulates that the Elections Board “shall refuse to accept [a proposed initiative] if the Board finds that it . . . authorizes, or would have the effect of authorizing, discrimination” prohibited under the city human rights law. The D.C. Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. When  The highest local court, the D.C. Court of Appeals, upheld that decision last year. 999 A.2d 89 (2010).

The petitioners' primary hope lay in Chief Justice Roberts' comment when the case had gone to the Court in their effort to obtain an injunction putting the question on the ballot without going through the DC Court of Appeals.  At that point, Roberts had concurred in the denial of cert because Supreme Court consideration was premature, but noted that the petitioners' "argument has some force." 130 S.Ct. 1279, 1280 (2010).

This week's denial of cert seals the result and allows DC to duck the bullet of what would have been an ugly fight.


One Response to No marriage referendum for DC

  1. Alfonso Fanjul March 31, 2011 at 6:15 AM

    The opinion states that city officials would “authorize discrimination” if they permit a referendum to be held on whether to afford same-sex couples married elsewhere the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *