Opponents of a District of Columbia gay
marriage law widely expected to take effect in March have lost their
lawsuit against the city's elections board, the Washington Post
Stand for Marriage DC challenged a
District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics ruling that
blocked opponents from pursuing a ballot initiative banning gay
marriage in the District. The board concluded twice that such a
measure would violate the city's Human Rights Act that prohibits
discrimination based on sexual orientation.
On Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge
Judith N. Macaluso agreed with the city, saying the board “properly
rejected the proposed initiative” because of the Human Rights Act.
Thirty-nine Republican members of
Congress, including two senators, James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and
Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and 37 House members, had filed an
amicus brief in support of gay marriage opponents.
“As members of the District's
ultimate legislative body, amici are concerned about the extent of
the District's delegated legislative authority, the preservation of
Congress' constitutional authority, and the interpretation of home
rule,” the brief says.
Bishop Harry Jackson, a minister at the
Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, formed Stand for
Marriage DC in the spring of 2009 after lawmakers approved a gay
marriage-recognition bill and promised to legalize gay marriage in
Jackson and his supporters could appeal
the ruling to an appellate court, but most likely not before the gay
marriage law – approved by lawmakers on December 15 – goes into
effect. Congress, which has final say on laws approved by the city,
has 30 legislative days to reject the measure. City officials say
they expect the law to go into effect on March 2, but because of
a 3-day waiting period, the District will not see its first gay
wedding until March 5, at the earliest.