Supreme Court to decide this week whether to hear case on DC marriage law

Posted on 12 Jan 2011 at 8:14am

The Supreme Court will meet in private this Friday and announce on Tuesday whether it will hear the challenge brought by Bishop Harry Jackson (a resident of neighboring Maryland) to marriage equality in Washington DC. Bishop Jackson’s efforts to put marriage equality up for a public vote has been rejected by every previous court that has considered the challenge.

So what does this mean? From The Washington Blade:

City attorneys defended those restrictions in a brief submitted before the Supreme Court on Dec. 17. The attorneys, among other things, argued that the case involves a local matter pertaining to the city’s initiative and referendum law. They noted that the high court has a longstanding precedent of deferring to state or D.C. appeals courts on cases that don’t have a national impact.

If the Supreme Court rejects Jackson’s request to take on the case, the D.C. Court of Appeals decision remains in force to permanently prevent a ballot measure on the same-sex marriage law.

If it accepts the case, it would become the first time the Supreme Court addresses a same-sex marriage-related issue. But the case would not address marriage itself or whether same-sex marriage is protected under the constitution — only the question of whether D.C. voters should be allowed to decide the issue through a ballot measure.




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