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DC Same-Sex Marriage Survives Court Challenge

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By Jason Beahm on July 15, 2010 1:35 PM

DC same-sex marriage will remain legal, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled today. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that because marriage is a protected right, the state cannot vote to restrict it to opposite-sex couples because such a law would discriminate.

In March of this year, Washington D.C. began to allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision to allow same-sex marriage was originally made by the D.C. Council last December. Residents then attempted to get a ballot initiative approved to vote to ban same-sex marriage. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics prohibited the ballot initiative, on the grounds that it would approve discrimination. Today the Court of Appeals agreed. The only remaining appeal is to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville who has become the face of the opponents of gay marriage, argued that the Court of Appeals was wrong and the council had over stepped its authority.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese disagreed and applauded the decision: "The court's ruling today is a significant victory for justice, the rule of law and the protection of all D.C. residents against discrimination ... equality is here to stay no matter how much money they want to throw at turning back the clock."

For now this means that same-sex marriage will remain legal in the District of Columbia. However it seems imminent that some kind of legal showdown will eventually take place at the U.S. Supreme Court. Whether it is the D.C. case, the California case or another matter, one way or another the Court is going to be called on to determine the same-sex marriage issue.

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