Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Marriage Equality in DC: Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge

From Poliglot:
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down a request by Bishop Harry Jackson and others to hear their case seeking an initiative on marriage equality in the District....

The Supreme Court receives thousands of requests to hear cases annually, yet hears significantly fewer than 100 cases each year. Nearly its entire docket is discretionary, and so today's action -- a denial of the certiorari petition filed by Jackson -- legally signifies nothing other than that the Supreme Court is not going to review the case in question further.

For D.C., though, the action puts an end to the legal questions remaining for marriage equality here....

Calling the issue a "relatively obscure matter of law," longtime District gay rights activist Bob Summersgill told Metro Weekly, "This was not about the merits of marriage, it was whether the council in 1979 had the authority to restrict initiatives and referenda from violations of the Human Rights Act."...

Despite the absolutism on that point, he added a counterpoint.

"This is also a victory for the incremental approach that we took," he said. "Our critics were correct that we could have passed marriage soon, but we could not have kept it. Keeping it was the hard part.

"We see in California and Maine, you can get the law passed -- but if you're not prepared to keep it, you may not. Making sure that we could keep it was the challenge for 10 years."
It's good, but it's not a resounding decision. With the Supreme Court, be careful what you wish for. It could easily go against us with the DOMA or Prop8 case.

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