Since Congress didn't act within the 30-day required time period after the bill passed first reading on December 15th, their only recourse to keep the bill from becoming law was through the courts - where their suit still remains - awaiting consideration by the D.C. Court of Appeals. The bases of their suit? The people of D.C. have a right to vote on whether they want same-sex marriage or not and that marriage should be defined as being between a man and a woman (sound familiar?).
Unlike California's Proposition 8, D.C.'s law was passed in an 11-2 vote by the City Council. Then, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics denied their request for a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage - and opponents filed suit.
But with no decision from the court, and the law going into effect this Wednesday, they went to the Supreme Court yesterday and filed for the stay that was denied by Chief Justice Roberts today, basically refusing to have the entire Supreme Court hear it. But Roberts made it very clear that this is not yet completely over:
"Petitioners argued that this action was improper, because D.C. Council legislation providing that a referendum is not required cannot trump a provision of the D.C. Charter specifying that a referendum is required," Roberts wrote...So, the decision - on whether the voters have a say - falls to the D.C. Court of Appeals trier of fact and/or law (depending on how the case is heard). Let's not forget same-sex marriage was legal in California and Maine, before it wasn't.
...And he said that although the time for a referendum on the law will have passed, the group can still pursue a ballot initiative.
"The request for an initiative will not become moot when the act becomes law," Roberts wrote. "On the contrary, the D.C. Court of Appeals will have the chance to consider the relevant legal questions on their merits, and petitioners will have the right to challenge any adverse decision through a petition for certiorari in this Court at the appropriate time."
Interestingly, Catholic Charities has made good on at least one previous threat. Yesterday, they notified their workers that they were changing their health benefits coverage to exclude new, and not already enrolled "spouses" of their employees - Same-sex marriage leads Catholic Charities to adjust benefits:
"We looked at all the options and implications," said the charity's president, Edward J. Orzechowski. "This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city's new requirements and remain faithful to the church's teaching."And, keep that approximately $22 million in city contracts. Just sayin'.
Is it me? Or are they making some subtle assumptions with this move?
Anyway. Even though council member Alexander's amendment, allowing individuals to refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages based on their religious beliefs, was not included in the final bill - allowances were made for "religious organizations" to say "No" to performing and/or providing a place for same-sex weddings. Still sounds discriminatory to me - but who am I?
So-o-o, congrats again people!!! Fill out those license applications and get ye to the court on time!!!
In a related development, it seems the Changeling is already looking to 2012 and the LGBT vote according to this - Obama to repeal Bush ‘provider conscience’ regulations:
The Bush administration rule was quickly challenged in federal court by several states and medical organizations. As a candidate, President Barack Obama criticized the regulation and campaign aides promised that if elected, he would review it.It'll be interesting to see what "carefully crafted" really means. And while he's repealing, why not just repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell instead of all this long, drawn-out studying and polling? Nah, probably saving that one until closer to re-election time.
Late last week the White House released a statement saying that Obama supports a “carefully crafted” conscience clause – not Bush’s version.