D.C. Marriage Case Snuffed By Supreme Court
Special Report - January 19, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of Washington, D.C.’s refusal to allow District residents to consider a ballot measure regarding the definition of marriage. The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) represented Stand4MarriageDC, Bishop Harry Jackson, and other religious leaders from the District in asking the Supreme Court to consider an appeal of a lower court’s decision that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics may refuse to allow a ballot initiative to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman to go before the people for a vote because the Board determined that, if approved, it would violate the city’s human rights law. The petition had asked 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?” On January 18th, the Supreme Court refused that request without issuing any comment.
In March 2010, Washington, D.C. became the sixth jurisdiction in the country (along with Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont) to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In related news, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its opening brief in federal court defending an appeal of a lower court decision that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. In the brief, filed January 13 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, DOJ argued that DOMA represents a constitutional exercise of authority by Congress without violating the constitutional rights of homosexual Americans. The appeal combines two cases from Massachusetts, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. In July 2010, a federal district judge ruled that DOMA violates the equal protection portion of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment and the 10th Amendment. DOMA, which was enacted by a majority of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, defines marriage for federal purposes as only between one man and one woman, and protects states from being forced to recognize the same-sex “marriages” of other states where it is legal. The lawsuits particularly focus on the effect DOMA has on the distribution of federal benefits to spousesnamely, that DOMA prevents federal laws or programs from recognizing same-sex spouses for any purpose, including benefit disbursement.
Assault On Marriage Intensifies - November 12, 2010
ADF Petitions U.S. Supreme Court - October 15, 2010
Judge Says Federal DOMA Flawed - July 9, 2010
D.C. Appeals Court Rejects Marriage - July 20, 2010
Court Rejects D.C. Marriage Referendum - February 24, 2010
D.C. Issues Homosexual Marriage Licenses - March 4, 2010
D.C. Mayor Signs Same-Sex "Marriage" Bill - December 21, 2009
White House Wants DOMA Repeal - August 19, 2009
Justice Defends Marriage - June 22, 2009
Lawsuit Challenges Federal DOMA - March 6, 2009
The Issue That Will Not Go Away - FNC - April, 2010
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