Foes of same-s3x marriage law seek stay from Supreme Court |

March 2, 2010 by Post Team 

Foes of same-s3x marriage law seek stay from Supreme CourtFoes of same-s3x marriage law seek stay from Supreme Court | of the District’s same-s3x marriage law asked the Supreme Court to delay its scheduled implementation Wednesday so they could bring the matter to a referendum before city voters.

The effort is a last-chance gambit; the group has been turned down by lower courts, and the city is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning allowing gay couples to apply for marriage licenses.

The stay application is addressed to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. He has the option of addressing the request himself, or referring the matter to the full court.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith N. Macaluso in January affirmed a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics decision that city law disallows the referendum because it would promote discrimination against gay men and lsbns. Macaluso also concluded that previous court decisions outlawing same-s3x marriage in the District are no longer valid.

A group led by Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, has appealed that decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals. But it has not yet ruled, and denied the group’s request to stop implementation of the law until it does. Thus the move to the Supreme Court.

“A stay will maintain the status quo of the District’s definition of marriage until the people of D.C. have had ample opportunity to pursue the referendum process,” the group said in its application. “Without a stay, the act will go into effect and the people will be deprived of their chance to vote on a critical question of public policy — whether D.C. should hold to its long held understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman or, instead, redefine the institution.”

District Attorney General Peter J. Nickles told the court there is no need for a stay, and the request is premature.

“The question of whether a law banning same-s3x marriage or the recognition of such marriages is the proper subject of a voter initiative is, in fact, currently pending before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in an expedited appeal filed by these same petitioners,” Nickles wrote.

“The court will fully consider their legal arguments in that case. If petitioners are correct, they will be able to present the electorate with an initiative to ban same-s3x marriage, obviating any claim of irreparable harm here.”

The proposed referendum would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

The election board has twice ruled that a referendum on same-s3x marriage would violate a city election law prohibiting such a vote on a matter covered by the Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination against gays and other minority groups.

In her decision, Macaluso stated the board “properly rejected the proposed initiative” because of the Human Rights Act.

Nickles also told the court that the request to stay the implementation of a statute during or following congressional review is foreclosed by the Home Rule Act.

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