Thursday, January 7, 2010

D.C. Wire - GOP Congress members wade into same-sex marriage debate

DC touble??? Time will tell
D.C. Wire - GOP Congress members wade into same-sex marriage debate

Thirty-nine congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), have filed an amicus brief in D.C. Superior Court calling for a voter referendum on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in the District.

In the filing, U.S. senators James Inhofe (Okla.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) and 37 House Republicans align with Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church, in asking the court to reverse a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision prohibiting the same-sex marriage question to be put before voters.

"Under the United States Constitution, they serve as members of the ultimate legislative authority for the District of Columbia and the very body which delegated to the District its limited legislative power under home rule," the filing states. "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's constitutional authority, and the interpretation of home rule."

The filing comes as Jackson and his attorneys appeared in Superior Court today for a hearing on whether a referendum should be held. In two separate rulings since June, the elections board has stated that a public vote on same-sex marriage would be discriminatory against gay men and lesbians. Jackson is vowing an exhaustive court fight to challenge those decisions.

Last month, the D.C. Council voted 11 to 2 to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) signed the bill shortly before Christmas, but it is undergoing a 30-day legislative review. Under Home Rule, Congress can block any law passed by the council.

But same-sex marriage supporters are optimistic that Congress will not intervene because the Democrats control the House and Senate.

Still, the court brief underscores the challenge same-sex marriage supporters face in trying to protect the new law in both the current and future Congresses, particularly if the GOP retakes control.

In addition to the two senators and Boehner and Cantor, the brief was signed by U.S. Reps. Robert Aderholt (Ala.), Todd Akin (Mo.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), J. Gresham Barrett (S.C.), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), John Fleming (La.), J. Randy Forbes (Va.), Virginia Foxx (N.C.), Scott Garrett (N.J.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), Wally Herger (Calif.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Steve King (Iowa), Jack Kingston (Ga.), John Kline (Minn.) Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Robert Latta (Ohio), Don Manzullo (Ill.), Michael McCaul (Tex.), Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.), Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Jeff Miller (Fla.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Randy Neugebauer (Tex.), Mike Pence (Ind.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), Mark Souder (Ind.) and Todd Tiahrt (Kan.)

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