• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Same-Sex Marriage in DC: Game, but Not Set or Match

    Advocates of traditional marriage filed an appeal in the District of Columbia today, as expected, seeking review of yesterday’s D.C. Superior Court ruling that a public referendum on the issue would violate the city’s Human Rights Act. The appeal will place the issue before the D.C. Court of Appeals, which will be asked next week to make an expedited decision on the issue. The Superior Court decision represented a victory for advocates of marriage redefinition in the District. The D.C. City Council’s decision to allow same-sex couples to marry is also pending in Congress, whose opportunity to approve or disapprove the law will expire in early March.

    The traditional marriage advocates argued that the District of Columbia Charter, a measure approve by Congress in that represents the equivalent of a state constitution, guarantees city residents the right of initiative and referendum on all issues, excluding only measures that require appropriations. Advocates of same-sex marriage have argued that the Human Rights Act, a statutory measure first passed by the Council in 1977, properly limited the scope of initiatives and referenda by disallowing them for proposals that would affect anti-discrimination laws. The Superior Court rejected arguments that the 1977 Council action did not include the definition of marriage, which remained fixed by law in the District until 2009 and which was affirmed by the D.C. Court of Appeals in the 1995 case Dean v. District of Columbia.

    The Superior Court’s ruling awards “game” to same-sex marriage advocates, but “set” and “match” are still to come. In addition to the appeal filed by attorneys for Alliance Defense Fund, legislation will be introduced in Congress by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to require the City to allow a referendum on the issue if voters seek one. If Congress acts on the bill, it will supersede any local interpretation of the Human Rights Act.

    For now, the Superior Court’s ruling may be another manifestation of the “liberal ratchet” theory that holds that once a public policy is moved in a liberal direction, it can’t or won’t be reversed. For example, no one contends that if advocates of same-sex marriage had petitioned to put their definition on the D.C. ballot in 2008, any court would have blocked it. Yesterday’s decision by the Superior Court amounts to viewpoint discrimination against half or more of D.C. residents.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Same-Sex Marriage in DC: Game, but Not Set or Match

    1. JeffreyRO5 says:

      I wish those who oppose same-sex marriage could actually come up with a reason for why they do so. I read comments and I understand they feel strongly about it. But why? You prevent a group from having a right other groups have requires proving some state interest in that denial. So what is it? And why do these people think they can vote on the rights of a minority? What is wrong with these people?!

    2. Franswa says:


      The response to your question is simple. Same-sex marriage is morally, and socially, inappropriate. It is morally wrong. Period.

    3. Bobbie Jay says:

      If it forces Christian churches to comply, the truly Christian Churches will have to close down for failure to abide by God's will and accommodating mankind's.

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      marriage isn't a right! It's a sacrament! It is funny, through the ages of time, all of a sudden selfishness comes in to demand acceptance of something that will NEVER BE!

    5. Abennett says:

      Correction: The truly Christian churches would never close down. They would meet in the catacombs. A far cry from the tax exempt diggs they currently occupy.

      Pehaps the truly Christian church would emerge. One that did not wrest the scriptures to their own prejudicial ends.

      1st Samuel 20:41: David prostrated himself and bowed three times, then the two men kissed each other and wept together, until David “exceeded. No need to be blunt about what that means.

    6. Karen Grube, San Die says:

      Does anyone have information about whether or not the ADF actually filed an appeal? I've been looking for that and even calling them without an answer. If someone knows, I'd appreciate it if they could please provide information on which court it was filed in and a docket number, if you happen to know.

      Knowing this would help because I'm trying to tell Congress that if they don't act, the appeals court is likely rule in favor of the voters anyway, but it may take them some time, and allowing this gay marriage law to go into effect temporarily as soon as the 30-legislative time period ends would be horrible if, within a few weeks or months, the court ruled in favor of the voters and this decision was placed before the voters they decided to uphold traditional marriage. That would cause the same chaotic situation as we saw here in California when the State Supreme Court allowed gay marriage knowing full well that question was going to be on the ballot in a few months. I think that's a good argument as to why Congress should act to veto this law, but without the real information about the appeal, it's hard to make that argument.


    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.