Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Law takes effect in D.C. to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere; Alliance Defense Fund supports a marriage initiative

07/07/09 Washington Blade (source: Marriage Equality New York):

On July 7th, a new law took effect in the District of Columbia that extends recognition of the validity of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.
Gay activists hailed the development as an historic landmark for same-sex couples throughout the country and noted that it opens the way for the [D.C.] Council to pass a separate law later this year allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the District.
07/07/09 Jurist Legal News and Research:
[JURIST] A Washington, DC law [text, PDF] recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states or jurisdictions took effect Tuesday, following Congressional inaction on the matter. The Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009, passed by the Council of the District of Columbia [official website] in May by a 12-1 final vote [JURIST report], was subject to Congressional review pursuant to the Home Rule Act [text, PDF] before becoming law.
07/08/09 (source: ADF Alliance Alert)

Last month, the D.C. Elections and Ethics Board decided that a referendum on the law could not qualify for the ballot because it violates the District's Human Rights Act. The Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to overturn the Board's decision, but the D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed the case. Nevertheless, ADF now claims that D.C. voters are entitled to vote on a "marriage initiative":

With the law now in place, marriage advocates in the capital district will have to appeal to the initiative process in order to preserve the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. According to the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal advocacy group representing the interests of D.C. marriage advocates, the HRA should remain no obstacle to putting such an initiative on the ballot.

"While the Superior Court's decision on the referendum disenfranchised the voters of D.C. with respect to the law that just went into effect, the decision specifically left open the possibility of the voters of D.C. filing a marriage initiative," stated ADF attorney, Tim Tracey.

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