February 26, 2010 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Last hurdle removed to start of D.C. same-sex marriages

The D.C. Court of Appeals Friday denied a request by a Maryland minister for an injunction to block the city’s same-sex marriage law from taking effect March 3, ending the last potential obstacle to the start of gay nuptials the following week.

In a unanimous decision, Associate Judges Noel Kramer and Phyllis Thompson and Senior Judge John Steadman upheld a ruling last week by a D.C. Superior Court judge denying the injunction on grounds that it failed to meet the minimum requirements for such an action.

Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman ruled that Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., could not show that there was “substantial likelihood” that his underlying lawsuit seeking to overturn the same-sex marriage law through a voter referendum would succeed.

Holeman noted that a key factor in granting an injunction is whether an underlying case on which the injunction is based has a reasonable chance of succeeding.

The three-judge appeals court panel also held that Jackson and others who have joined him in requesting the injunction failed to show that allowing the marriage law to take effect would cause them “irreparable harm.”

D.C. government attorneys filed motions opposing the injunction request, arguing, among other things, that the city’s election law prohibits initiatives or referenda that would result in the denial of the rights of a minority protected under the D.C. Human Rights Act. The act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act, which allows same-sex marriages to be performed in the District, were scheduled to take effect March 3, when its review by Congress is set to conclude.

Although same-sex couples can apply for a marriage license on March 3, a mandatory waiting period of three business days for the issuance of a marriage license under existing city law prevents same-sex couples from marrying in D.C. until March 9.

At least a half-dozen same-sex couples have announced plans to go the D.C. Superior Court on the morning of March 3 to apply for a marriage license, and LGBT organizations were planning to celebrate the occasion later that day.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

6 Comments
  • Excellent! When will this hate mongering preacher from Maryland, (the obnoxious Bishop Jackson) buzz off and let the people of Washington, DC decide to do the right thing and allow same-sex marriage. In fact, I think its time for the Maryland General Assembly to get moving on passing same-sex marriage in Maryland; where Lord knows that idiot Bishop will probably have a heart attack if that happens.

  • It takes all kinds to make a world

    President Obama, who is trying to unravel the nightmare of the alcoholic idiot Bush’s years

    And jackson, who is living proof that creationism and intelligent design are great falsehoods. He proves time and again that mankind is descended from vicious animals. And sometimes those vicious genes dominate.

    Either that, and or he is a self loathing and hating gay in ministers clothing

    BTw. the black community is full of gay people. Just the ocmmunity as well as the people are in the closet of satan

  • I wonder if Maggot Gallahger will show up in DuPont Circle to gloat as she did when the Maine vote went against the community.

    Oh, wait…she has nothing to gloat about.

    And a question for the publisher. It says there were 4 commnets but I could only see 2. Wha hoppn?

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