ADF Petitions U.S. Supreme Court
Special Report - October 15, 2010
The legal battle in the District of Columbia over whether residents should be allowed to vote on the definition of marriage is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Stand4MarriageDC filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court on October 12 in the case, Jackson #2 v. D.C. Board of Elections. The petition is an appeal of a 5 to 4 ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals in July, which narrowly upheld a controversial decision by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to not allow the citizens of D.C. to vote on the Marriage Initiative of 2009, which defined marriage in D.C. as only between a man and a woman. The petition asks the high court to consider the following question: “Given that the District of Columbia Council cannot legislate in conflict with the District’s congressionally enacted Charter, can it limit the people’s Charter-based right to initiate lawsa right that Congress affirmatively approved and bestowed upon the peopleby unilaterally imposing a substantive restriction on that broad and unambiguous right?”
The case began in November 2009, when the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics rejected the Marriage Initiative of 2009, arguing that allowing the residents of D.C. to vote on the legal definition of marriage would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977, which includes “sexual orientation” in its list of protected categories. In response, attorneys with ADF and Stand4MarriageDC immediately filed a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court, arguing that the D.C. Charter, which is similar to a state constitution, “guarantees citizens the right to initiate and vote on any legislation except for” laws that appropriate funds. Both the Superior Court and the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
“The decision from the D.C. Court of Appeals means that those living in our nation’s capitol are being denied the right to vote, and we hope the Supreme Court will restore this guaranteed right in the district,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “The four dissenting judges were correct that the D.C. Council ‘exceeded its authority’ when it imposed an unwarranted limitation on the citizens’ right to vote.”
D.C. has been issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples since March 2010. To date, five states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) plus D.C. have redefined marriage to include homosexual couples. North Carolina is one of 11 states with statutes to protect marriage, such as a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but without a constitutional Marriage Protection Amendment like those passed in 30 other states.
D.C. Appeals Court Rejects Marriage - July 20, 2010
D.C. Issues Homosexual Marriage Licenses - March 4, 2010
The Issue That Will Not Go Away - FPM - Spring 2010
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