Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Court refuses to allow D.C. vote on gay marriage | Washington Examiner

Court refuses to allow D.C. vote on gay marriage | Washington Examiner

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Court refuses to allow D.C. vote on gay marriage
By: Michael Neibauer
Examiner Staff Writer
June 30, 2009

A D.C. Superior Court judge has dismissed a motion filed by gay marriage opponents to stall the implementation of a new District law recognizing same sex unions performed elsewhere.

The decision from Judge Judith Retchin to deny a preliminary injunction and grant the city’s motion to dismiss means there will be no referendum on the recognition statute, which will likely become law July 6 after a congressional review of the law is completed. Congress is not expected to undue the legislation.

Retchin determined that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled properly that the proposed referendum, sought by a coalition of area clergy, was an improper subject for a ballot question because it would violate the city’s Human Rights Act. The act, she said, makes it “unlawful for the government to deny services or benefits based on membership in a protected category,” and there are some 200 rights and responsibilities conferred to married couples that are not given to legally recognized same sex couples.

Retchin also concluded that Dean vs. D.C., a key 1995 Court of Appeals rule that supported a court clerk’s decision not to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, did not apply in this case. Dean, she wrote, “involved a different factual scenario and presented a different legal question than is before the Court.”

The Stand 4 Marriage D.C. coalition, led by Bishop Harry Jackson of Beltsville’s Hope Christian Church, filed its proposed referendum application on May 27, 16 days after the bill was transmitted to Congress. That delay, Retchin wrote in her decision, was “inexcusable.”

“At bottom, the harm about which Petitioners complain is not based on a denial of the right to referendum,” Retchin wrote. “Rather, they simply disagree with legislation enacted by our duly-elected Council. A citizen’s disagreement with constitutionally sound legislation, whethe

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