The D.C. Council has passed a gay marriage recognition bill. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has signed it. The Board of Elections and Ethics has rejected a referendum effort aimed at overturning it. A Superior Court judge has upheld that decision.
So, barring intervention from the D.C. Court of Appeals—-and, according to a court spokesperson, no appeal was filed by close of business today—-gay marriages will very soon be legal in the District of Columbia.
Brian Flowers, the general counsel for the D.C. Council and the official counter of congressional review days, tells LL today that, by his count, the review period will end at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7.
Now, if you’re expecting a big public spectacle at that hour—-couples heading down to the courthouse at midnight, mass weddings at city hall, etc.—-you may be disappointed: A recognition of an out-of-state marriage is something that does not require any official action on the District’s part; if you have a valid marriage license from Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, or California (issued during the 14-week period that it was legal there), you will automatically be considered married in the District.
However, newly legitimate couples are free, of course, to party however they wish.
Referendum backers have indicated in some press reports that they plan to appeal, but their time is running out: A petition would have to be filed tomorrow or early Monday (Friday is a holiday). And Monday would be pushing it.
If they don’t appeal—-as Harry Jackson suggested they might, to WTOP—-they will likely pursue a ballot initiative, which isn’t subject to the same time limitations as a referendum (which seeks to overturn a newly passed law). In that case, the issue would almost certainly land right back in the appeals court—-in what would be the last chance for judicial intervention in this matter.