Wednesday, January 12, 2011
indefatigable same-sex marriage opponent Bishop Harry Jackson which argues that the citizens of the District should vote on whether or not such marriages should be legal. The Washington Blade reports that the country's highest judicial body could render a decision on the case as soon as next Tuesday. Justices are scheduled to conference regarding the case on Friday.
The case, Jackson v. the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, is hardly the first time that Jackson's attempts to overturn the legality of same-sex marriage in the District will hit the docket of the Supreme Court. A similar attempt to stay the Council's landmark 2009 legislation filed by Jackson last spring was denied by the Supreme Court. In that ruling (PDF), Chief Justice John Roberts referenced Whalen v. United States to conclude that "it has been the practice of the Court to defer to the decisions of the courtsof the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern," though Roberts did admit that Jackson's "argument has some force." Roberts also concluded that Congress' refusal to contest the legislation during the 30-day review period bolstered the case against a stay.
Jackson filed his latest petition on October 12, after the D.C. Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Board of Elections and Ethics in February to ban Jackson and supporters from organizing a ballot initiative on same-sex marriage. In its decision, the BOEE contended that such an initiative would violate the District's Human Rights Act; Jackson and friends insist that Congress would need to amend the Home Rule Charter to support such a violation.
If the Supreme Court denies Jackson's petition, the decision of the D.C. Court of Appeals to uphold a permanent ban on such ballot initiatives will stand -- and Jackson's chances of winning over the Supreme Court appear incredibly slim. Of course, whatever the Supreme Court eventually decides, it likely won't make a dent in opponents of gay marriage's steadfast belief that they'll eventually be able to dictate how some residents of Washington live their lives.