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DC court rejects bid to put same-sex marriage recognition law to public vote

[JURIST] A judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that a law allowing Washington DC to recognize same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] performed elsewhere is not subject to a public referendum. Reverend Harry Jackson, along with 39 Republican congressmen [Wasington Post report], urged the court to force the DC Council to allow the public to vote on DC's Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009 (JAMA) [text, PDF; JURIST report]. The judge refused, affirming a November decision [text, PDF; JURIST report] by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics [official website], which held that putting the act to a public vote would violate DC's Human Rights Act [text]. It is unknown whether Jackson will appeal.

Last month, the DC Council gave both its preliminary and final approval [JURIST reports] to the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 [text, PDF], which would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in DC. Mayor Adrian Fenty must still sign the law, and Congress must not act to block it before it goes into effect. If the marriage bill becomes law, DC will become the sixth US jurisdiction to recognize marriage between same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in five US states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire [JURIST reports].

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