According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal to D.C.'s gay-marriage law brought by Maryland Bishop Harry Jackson. Jackson had sued the district's Board of Elections and Ethics for blocking a public referendum on the issue, which the board -- and the D.C. courts -- said violated the city's Human Rights Act.
After the justices agreed to consider the case last week, there was a speculation about what a possible Supreme Court ruling on the gay-marriage referendum would mean. Here at TAP, Adam Serwer made the point that even if the right-leaning Supreme Court allowed a marriage referendum to go forward, the heavily Democratic District might be the first place where marriage rights are put to a popular vote and win.
Thankfully, the Court declined to hear the case -- quite a telling move given that it only takes four justices to grant cert. While it is difficult to speculate on the Court's reasoning, given that it did not comment, I think it would be a mistake to conclude that this signals the court's attitude toward gay marriage more generally. The grounds on which Bishop Jackson brought the lawsuit -- that the city's Human Rights Act violated the Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the 1970s -- were incredibly narrow, and the fact that Congress had 30 days to overrule D.C.'s enactment of marriage rights but chose not to made it even more of a long shot. This is effectively the end of the road for opponents of marriage equality in D.C., who now have no choice but to eat crow and focus on states like Maryland, where the marriage-equality movement seems poised for another victory.
-- Gabriel Arana
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