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Same-sex marriage opponents file lawsuit

Bishop Harry Jackson, represented by attorneys from a conservative legal organization, filed suit today against the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics over its refusal to allow an initiative to ban same-sex marriage.

Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund said the suit was filed today in D.C. Superior Court. On Tuesday, the elections board ruledthat an initiative to define marriage as being between a man and woman cannot proceed because it would be discriminatory toward gay men and lesbians.

Jackson and other same-sex marriage opponents are vowing a lengthy court battle over the issue.

-- Tim Craig

By Anne Bartlett  |  November 18, 2009; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig , same-sex marriage  
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Comments

Alright, maybe the man and woman on the street will have a say in this lunacy after all. While we are at it, I can think of a recall petition for several DC City Council members as well....

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Bishop Jackson clearly does not respect DC's non-discrimination law (again).

Posted by: bobbarnes | November 18, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Why does the first poster feel they are entitled to vote on another person's civil rights?

I don't get it.

Posted by: CrabHands | November 18, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

That's because the first poster doesn't feel that all Americans deserve the same basic rights. He/she hate gays, judging from comments made yesterday, as well.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I think we should open this up to a whole host of things I don't like about what people do.

Do you think slavery, or bans on interracial marriage would have ever ended if they were up to popular vote? My guess is that the first poster doesn't see a problem with those.

Posted by: cashink2003 | November 18, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Civil Rights should never be put up for Public Vote. DC's Human Rights Law prevents that. Jackson is a Faux DC Resident.

Posted by: CapHillResII | November 18, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The first poster, much like Bishop Jackson or Brian Brown of NOM have something in common, they repeat the same crap over and over.

Posted by: bobbarnes | November 18, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I think people should vote because I don't agree that any group has a "right" to demand society license their private sexual behaviors. If the people of any jurisdiction wish to vote to license private sexual behaviors, that's their affair and business, but there is no "right" to make society endorse or license them. Society favors heterosexual marriage because, frankly, society has an interest in heterosexual marriage (procreation and rearing of children among others) that it simply does not in other sorts of relationships.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

This is what I want to understand - did poverty and crime end and I miss it? A child was shot in the head in my neighborhood a few days ago. But yet the righteous "Bishop" spends his times worrying about things that don't kill children, don't rape women, don't enable poverty and homelessness and hungry.

I'm confused?

Would he be allowed to even read if emancipation was put to a vote? Maybe he should take reading up again and reread his bible - the message isn't to inflict your values in others lives it is to live by example.

Was he out feeding the homeless or blowing hot air into the city?

Posted by: baisasa | November 18, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Here's where your ignorance is showing. We are not demanding that society endorse our relationships, just because we want approval. Civil marriage gives 1,100 or so tangible benefits to straight couples that gay couples can't enjoy -- like filing taxes jointly, collecting a partner's Social Security benefits, etc. There are many.

DCMorrison1, hate gays all you want. But we are citizens and taxpayers. We contribute significantly to the tax base of this city.

And why the obsession with other people's "private sexual behaviors"? Is your sexuality all that defines you? I think not. Folks like you need to recognize that you can dislike us, hate us, whatever, but we exist, we contribute to society in tangible ways. By the way, I'm a step-parent to two teenage girls. Their father is a deadbeat who won't support them. So, their mother, my partner, and I are raising them. Society is counting on us to repair the damage done by their parents' failed heterosexual relationship, and we are doing just fine.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I wonder which poor judge is going to get stuck with this legal nightmare.

Posted by: anon82 | November 18, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@DCMorrison1: That was the silliest thing I ever heard. Being in a same-sex marriage is no more licensing private sexual behavior anymore than being in a straight marriage licenses private sexual behavior. Your attempt to tie being homosexual with just SEX, fails miserable. being gay is at the core of a human being, it is an orientation not a sexual act. Homosexuality is not illegal and they are allowed by law to raise families. By denying them marriage, you are only hurting their children. I promise you that people who are against gay marriage will soon be held up there with people who are racists. This day is coming.

Posted by: slater619 | November 18, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"Here's where your ignorance is showing. We are not demanding that society endorse our relationships, just because we want approval."

Sorry, but yes you are. What is a marriage license, which is always civil even when a marriage ceremony will take place in a Church, if a not an endorsement and an express of approval.

"Civil marriage gives 1,100 or so tangible benefits to straight couples that gay couples can't enjoy -- like filing taxes jointly, collecting a partner's Social Security benefits, etc."

So let's address some of those alleged inequalities through law. But doing so does not require and would not result in the redefinition of marriage that it seems clear the folks pushing this thing want.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Jackson is just a bigot who thinks his religious beliefs trump the civil rights of others.

Posted by: kirk2 | November 18, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This entire effort is being led by so-called "ministers," many of whom are unlearned, under-educated, and probably cannot correct "interpret" the Bible...you cannot open the Book and just read...this whole thing is being led by ignorant individuals steeped in hate.

Pity

Posted by: 98DFpbN4 | November 18, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but we aren't looking for your approval. We're looking for equality and full citizenship. The best way to address these "alleged inequalities" -- the 1,100 rights -- is to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. And it's going to happen in DC. My partner and I are looking forward to standing in line and getting legally married.

I was half expecting you to say, no, I don't hate gays. Thanks for not pretending that we don't scare and disgust you. We're here and we're not going anywhere. This mantra of "re-defining marriage" is just fiction. Marriage has had all kinds of "definitions" throughout history. People didn't always marry for love or even choose their own spouses. It was about transfer of property, for example.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"That was the silliest thing I ever heard. Being in a same-sex marriage is no more licensing private sexual behavior anymore than being in a straight marriage licenses private sexual behavior."

Umm, sorry, but it absolutely does. Society as a whole has a definite stake in the private sexual behavior of married heterosexual people and in the education and socialization of the children society hopes comes from it. That's how the whole thing keeps going and society definitely has a stake in that.

"Your attempt to tie being homosexual with just SEX, fails miserable. being gay is at the core of a human being, it is an orientation not a sexual act."

Hey, *I* wasn't the one who came pressing to have society's definition of marriage changed because I wanted society to approve of my taking my boyfriend or girlfriend to bed on a regular basis.

"Homosexuality is not illegal and they are allowed by law to raise families."

Absolutely, its not illegal. And if they weren't pressing to have marriage redefined, I wouldn't care what they did at home, but hey that die appears to have been cast.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

So society doesn't have a stake in the children of same sex couples, or kids who only have one parent, or are being raised by a grandparent?

Because we gays are getting all uppity and wanting fairness and equality, some folks DO want to impose their morality on our private sexual behavior. Is that it? The die is cast indeed.

Please stop the obsession with such things as "taking my boyfriend or girlfriend to bed on a regular basis." It's not all about sex.

Get to know some gay folks. You'll discover we have a lot more in common than not.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for not pretending that we don't scare and disgust you. We're here and we're not going anywhere. This mantra of "re-defining marriage" is just fiction. Marriage has had all kinds of "definitions" throughout history. People didn't always marry for love or even choose their own spouses. It was about transfer of property, for example."

Actually I pity you more than anything else. How both hard and ridiculous it must be to believe that when your and your partner get that little slip of paper you will somehow be any more "married" than you are now.

Under other circumstances I wouldn't object to your delusion because everybody has to have something, but *I* do object to being forced into licensing it by a small coterie of elected officials who can't find the courage to let people vote on it.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

This argument that gay marriage will hurt traditional marriage is ridiculous. I've been married for 6 years and I don't see gay marriage as a threat at all. The reason I don't see it as a threat is because I am a logical human being. Try it some time.

Posted by: nmoses | November 18, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Keep your pity, we don't need it. No delusions here, either -- sorry to disappoint.

If I have a marriage license, there are certainly more protections or my relationship that if I didn't have one. And it's gonna happen. DC isn't going to let the majority vote on the rights of the minority.

You're just ignorant, and I pity you for that.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"So society doesn't have a stake in the children of same sex couples, or kids who only have one parent, or are being raised by a grandparent?"

Institutionally, society has a stake in heterosexual marriage. Those cases where marriages have failed, or have never taken place or where a parent has died are all tragedies, but society still has a stake in the institution of marriage that it doesn't, for example, in other long term relationships.

I personally don't care what you do in the privacy of your home and we wouldn't even be having this discussion if someone hadn't decided that all of us should be forced to license it

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

So, because the DC council made it and issue, you DO care about what we do in the privacy of our own homes? That makes no sense. You're in the majority, right? White male, perhaps? I'm just guessing. You've always had top billing and I know it rattles your chain to have other folks stand up for themselves.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, we will see if a federal court agrees with you that the citizens of this city will have no say in what they have to license or not.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Here's what I don't get. There are often well-deserved stereotypes about gay men having lots of sexual partners. Not so much for lesbians. Why wouldn't you want to encourage stability and monogamy in gay relationships, including marriage? Because we're all supposed to pray away the gay, repent and become straight, right?

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

A marriage license is issued by the state - not the church. One cannot get married without this document, and the document does not require that a ceremony be performed in a church. Since it is issued by the state, it is a civil - not religious - matter. And all Americans are guaranteed equal protection (read equal civil treatment) under our Constitution. Our religious beliefs are also protected by our Constitution, but it is a separate protection. The obvious (and relentless) bigotry posted here just astounds me.

Posted by: kirk2 | November 18, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Ack! Not again!

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!

It was once illegal in this country for blacks and whites to marry; it was legal to own human slaves; in Puritan New England it was a whippable offense to be a Quaker; in some countries, it's deemed acceptable to kill women for allegedly bringing dishonor to a family (as defined by the men in the family of course),et cetera, et cetera.

The sort of grandstanding that Bishop Jackson is performing usually has one major focus: himself. Folks who shout and aggressively promote a self-righteousness campaign on any subject usually have one goal: self-promotion. Watch - this guy will the next Sarah Palin.

Bishop Jackson is hoeing the same row many bigots have hoed before - all with the same result: the tendency of the human spirit to (eventually) embrace all that is right and respectful to mankind's growth and development.

People do - and have always - married for a multiplicity of reasons. Children, money, lust, influence, transfer assets, etc. But mainly marriage has a been used as a stabilizing force in society. So theoretically the more married couples there are, the more stable society will or can be.

Gays and lesbians being married certainly won't harm this country - and in fact, they might provide a haven for all those unwanted kids that heterosexual are busy creating and abandoning.

Please Bishop Jackson - use your considerable talents to make the world a better place not a hostile one. Figure out how to feed the hungry, educate the ignorant, banish racism, and eliminate poverty. That's what we need now.

P.S. The Hollywood movie version of this story would have Bishop Jackson arrested for the same lack-of-judgment as Larry Craig!

Posted by: eddie2621 | November 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

To be clear, in 1977 the citizens of DC enacted a anti-discrimination law, which among other things, makes it illegal to vote on issues relating to civil rights. This was a voter passed initiative. In essence, the voters decided that they would never vote on other citizen's civil rights.

Harry Jackson and others are now requesting that the courts and council members ignore that VOTER PASSED INITIATIVE and put a minority's civil rights up to a popular vote. This is called 'tyranny of the majority.' It is offensive, disrespectful, and anti-american.

It is precisely the thing that the anti discrimination law was designed to prevent.

Posted by: bluprntguy | November 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

To be clear, in 1977 the citizens of DC enacted a anti-discrimination law, which among other things, makes it illegal to vote on issues relating to civil rights. This was a voter passed initiative. In essence, the voters decided that they would never vote on other citizen's civil rights.

Harry Jackson and others are now requesting that the courts and council members ignore that VOTER PASSED INITIATIVE and put a minority's civil rights up to a popular vote. This is called 'tyranny of the majority.' It is offensive, disrespectful, and anti-american.

It is precisely the thing that the anti discrimination law was designed to prevent.

Posted by: bluprntguy | November 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, we will see if a federal court agrees with you that the citizens of this city will have no say in what they have to license or not.


Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 18, 2009 3:40 PM

_____________

Ummm, the courts already did rule on this over the Summer when they decided that that the law that the DC Council passed recognizing gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions was not allowed to be voted on. It makes sense that the court would rule the same in this issue, that by defining marriage in DC as one man and one woman would have the affect of over turning that same law and is thereby not allowed.

If you don't like what the DC Council did, you can vote them out of office at the next election or try to recall them. That's about it, according to the law.

Posted by: jdindc | November 18, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

WHAT I DONT UNDERSTAND IS THAT THERE ARE LAWS ON THE BOOKS REGARDING THE SEX ACTS HOMOSEXUALS PERFORM AND BY SIGNING OFF ON THE GAY MARRIAGE BILL THEY ARE IN ESSENCE GIVING THEM THE AUTHORITY TO BREAK THE LAW.

SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME!

WILL SOMEONE ALSO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THEY ARE CALLING THIS THE GAY MARRIAGE BILL INSTEAD OF THE HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE BILL?

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN BEING GAY OR HOMOSEXUAL?


I PERSONALLY THINK THIS ISSUE REALLY ISNT ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE. IT IS ABOUT TWO FOLKS WHO ARE TRYING TO CORNER THE MARKET ON POWER HERE IN WASHINGTON, DC. THAT'S GAYTANIA AND FENTY.

Posted by: nivla | November 18, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the courts hit the issue yet...the d.c. board of elections and ethics handled it, no?

I think the lawsuit's the first time that it's going before a court in D.C.

Posted by: anon82 | November 18, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

uh, nivla, have you taken your medication today? Homosexual acts are not illegal anymore.

Posted by: Marylander4 | November 18, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Um...must we not forget that discrimination comes in all forms...first it was religious, then slavery, with the Jews it was the Holocaust and now discriminating against homosexicles?

I need these reverends to spend time re-reading the Bible and focus on the part that speaks about love and especially the part that say that they are not to judge anyone because that's God's job!

ARGH! Damn church heathens!

Posted by: grg_francois | November 18, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I am ashamed of the people who are supporting Bishop Jackson and his crusade of ignorance against gay men and lesbians. No one group can claim exclusivity on civil rights and the civil rights movement is not over. If people voted on the civil rights of minority groups, then black people would still be sitting at the back of the bus. There are many rights associated with marriage and to deny them to gays and lesbians is to dehumanize them. If marriage exists for procreation, then I expect Bishop Jackson and his ilk to demand the annulment of marriages of childless couples. Of course, Bishop Jackson will not do that, nor will he shine a spotlight on the tragedy of missing fathers within millions of African-American families. Instead, he wants to focus on using his baseless religion/superstition to marginalize gay men and lesbians. Marriage in the USA is not a religious institution.

Posted by: dcheretic1 | November 18, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

dcheretic1 I agree completely. Marriage is a financial institution just as the Valentine's Day and Christmas have both become!

Posted by: grg_francois | November 18, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the courts hit the issue yet...the d.c. board of elections and ethics handled it, no?

I think the lawsuit's the first time that it's going before a court in D.C.

Posted by: anon82 | November 18, 2009 4:17 PM


Actually over the summer the court ruled that a proposed referredum to overturn council action to recognize gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions was improper due to the provisions of the Human Rights Act. Since this referrendum would basically do the same thing, I would opine that the court will make the same decision.

Posted by: jdindc | November 18, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Crusade of Ignorance..." So true.

Posted by: kirk2 | November 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

jdindc...

I'd actually support the court's ruling if they'd issued it, but I was asking because I haven't seen any mention of a former ruling by D.C. Superior Court or Court of Appeals. All the articles I've read have mentioned the decision by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics related to recognizing marriages from other jurisdictions, but not from the court system. (for an example, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/08/AR2009100803637.html)

Posted by: anon82 | November 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I have been married for well over a decade. We decided before we married that we didn't want to have children. Neither of us has ever regretted that decision.

If the anti-homosexual marriage folks believe that the purpose of marriage is to procreate, then what do they say about my marriage? Should it be declared unalwful? I'd be interested to see their response.

Posted by: DCResident22 | November 18, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

This voodoo self proclaimed bishop lives in DC, but his multimillion dollar house and wife live in Maryland--- I think an investigation is in order here.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | November 18, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Is Bishop Jackson a Liar?

The Washington Post should do an article on the Bishop Bishop Harry Jackson's deceptions.

For example, Bishop Jackson claims he votes in Washington DC. That is FALSE, because voting records clearly show Bishop Harry voting in Virginia.

Bishop Jackson also claims he is a resident of Washington DC. But the address he gives is owned by someone else. What's more, the apartment building prohibits subleases. Clearly Bishop Jackson is NOT a resident of Washington DC.

So I would like to suggest the Washington Post do an expose on the deceptive Bishop Harry Jackson Jr.

Posted by: nathanielbarton | November 18, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

What about older widowed men and women. Should they not be allowed to marry because they can no longer procreate?

My god would allow them to marry - and homosexuals too

Bishop efavorite

Posted by: efavorite | November 18, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Jackson certainly has a short memory. He's given those against blacks the impetus to start filing lawsuits against mixed race marriage and integration. Apparently he's inspired some in the south to forge ahead. He's opened a can of worms he may regret. Bigotry begets bigotry.

Posted by: MHCNYC | November 18, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Well, we will see if a federal court agrees with you that the citizens of this city will have no say in what they have to license or not."

----------

Citizens already voted on gay rights! That's how the DC Human Rights Act was passed, by popular vote. If you don't like the act, repeal it. Otherwise, gay marriage is the law of the City.

Read 'em and weep, theocrats! You don't have many cards left.

Posted by: Freestinker | November 18, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Comparing same-sex "marriage" to interracial marriage is an old Jedi-mind trick. Skin color is morally neutral whereas sexual behavior isn't. Same-sex "marriage" is more accurately compared to sterile, adult siblings falling in love and getting married.
Any society that doesn't have the moral clarity and courage to outlaw same-sex "marriage" has jumped the shark. Marriage is about the appropriate joining of one man and one woman who love each other and have the same values, not two people merely playing the roles of husband and wife. See heteroseparatist.com

Posted by: mantronikk | November 18, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

"Comparing same-sex "marriage" to interracial marriage is an old Jedi-mind trick. Skin color is morally neutral whereas sexual behavior isn't. "

------

mantronikk,

"Morality" is subjective. It's usually a euphemism for "religious". I suspect that's also the case here and is probably why you failed to mention why your morality should apply to everyone by force of law?

You also seem to think that being gay is a choice. I disagree but let's assume that is true. If so, then a better analogy for same-sex marriage would be mixed-religion marriages ... according to you, both are choices.

If you think it's OK to vote to exclude gays, you must also think we should be able to vote on mixed-religion marriages also. After all, religion is a choice too.

Please cautious though because once we start voting on who gets equal treatment under the law and who doesn't, everybody's rights will be at risk, including yours.

Fortunately, under our Constitution, minority rights are simply not subject to a popular vote. Otherwise, slavery and segregation would still be in effect in many States across the country. You'd probably like that too.

If you value your own civil rights so little that you would be willing to put them up for a popular vote, then you are just plain foolish. Give yours up if you like but please leave everyone else's civil rights alone.

Posted by: Freestinker | November 19, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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