WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who want to overturn the District of Columbia's gay marriage law.
The court did not comment Tuesday in turning away a challenge from a Maryland pastor and others who are trying to get a measure on the ballot to allow Washingtonians to vote on a measure that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
UPDATE (from comments) Box Turtle Bulletin discusses implications:
After the DC Council voted to enact marriage equality, Bishop Harry Jackson (a Maryland preacher) got signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. But the District has a provision which disallows referenda on civil rights issues and the Board of Elections and Ethics deemed an anti-gay marriage vote to be just such a vote.
When the courts did not overturn this decision, Jackson appealed to the Supreme Court and asked for a stay. In March, Justice Roberts declined the stay. Now the case is settled.
We cannot extrapolate too much from this decision. However, the following seems to be true:
There are not four anti-gay activist justices on the Supreme Court who are willing to take whatever steps are necessary to oppose equality.
The idea that gay marriage is, indeed, a civil rights issue – or can legitimately be seen as such by an Elections Board – is acceptable to at least six of the nine justices.