Marriage win in D.C.

Posted on 15 Jan 2010 at 11:55am

Supporters of marriage equality got some good news this week when a district judge in Washington, D.C., upheld a ruling by the city’s board of elections which, not once but twice, has refused to let gay marriage opponents put a referendum on the ballot there allowing a popular vote to try and overthrow the D.C. City Council’s vote legalizing same-sex marriage.

Such a ballot referendum, the judge said, would violate D.C.’s Human Rights Act.

Gay marriage opponents, of course, have vowed to appeal the ruling to the D.C. Court of Appeals, saying the trial court judge’s ruling is part of a pattern of judicial activism that overrides the will of the people. Whatever.

Judge Judith Macaluso wrote: “The fact that the proposed initiative, if passed, would violate the Human Rights Act provides an independent basis for upholding the Board’s decision: the initiative runs afoul of an implied exclusion barring provisions that violates the state’s law.”

She also said that a 1995 court ruling that said the Human Rights Act did not protect same-sex marriage is no longer valid because “Since 1995, the [Washington City Council] has changed the landscape Dean surveyed. Indeed, all of the statutory provisions upon which Dean relied have been repealed or amended…”

The ordinance legalizing same-sex marriage in D.C. could still be overturned by Congress, which gets to review all the city’s laws. But unless that happens, gay couples could start getting married in D.C. as early as March.

Here’s a story about the judge’s ruling from The Christian Science Monitor.

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