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Bishop Harry Jackson, a Maryland pastor, petitioned the Supreme Court with a request that gay marriage rights in the District be suspended until a citywide referendum on the issue could be completed. The referendum would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. To that, the Supreme Court said no with a denial of certiorari today.
Jackson has made what seems like every attempt to fight against gay marriage in the District; this is the second time that the Court has rejected this kind of effort from him. (You can read up on Jackson on his website, which is largely free from any information regarding his spats with the courts over gay marriage.)
DCist reports that “the Court, who conferenced on the case, Jackson v. the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, last Friday, did not comment on the decision according to the Associated Press. Jackson had filed the petition last October, a reaction to a February ban by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on human rights-related ballot initiatives. That ban, which outlaws any initiative which would violate the District’s Human Rights Act, now can claim the support of the Supreme Court.”
Some history on the topic, courtesy of a press release from the Human Rights Campaign:
The Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari today leaves standing a D.C. Court of Appeals decision issued last October that determined the Council acted within its authority when more than thirty years ago it established a requirement that proposed ballot initiatives may not authorize, or have the effect of authorizing, discrimination prohibited by the D.C. Human Rights Act. The Court further held that an initiative on same-sex marriage would impermissibly permit discrimination against gays and lesbians in the District.
In December 2009, the D.C. Council overwhelmingly passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Act of 2009. The bill was signed by Mayor Adrian Fenty, transmitted to Congress for review and became law on March 3, 2010. The first marriages between same-sex couples were performed less than a week later. Since then hundreds of same-sex couples have been married in D.C.
The Supreme Court’s decision confirms that the District can be squarely pro-marriage for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. If equal rights in this arena make you queasy, look at it this way: Gay marriage can be an economic booster!