judicial tests

If the Supreme Court Intervenes on D.C.’s Gay Marriage, It’s Terrible News for the Prop 8 Lawsuit

Here’s a new strategy for opponents of D.C.’s impending gay marriage law: If you can’t get Congress to intervene, how about the U.S. Supreme Court? This is troubling.

With the law’s implementation approaching the 11th hour, Baptist minister Walter Fauntroy today filed a motion with Chief Justice John Roberts to intervene, and stay the law until voters have a chance to weigh in. (It’s unclear whether Bishop Harry Jackson, who’s tried and failed three times to get D.C.’s Board of Elections to put marriage up to a common vote, is also involved in the appeal.)

This is no small matter. In fact, the situation just became quite dangerous.

With the federal Perry/Prop 8 trial expected to head to the Supreme Court shortly (a relative term in legal speak), the D.C. marriage case gives the Court a preliminary opportunity to have a say in gay marriage. And while a decision from Roberts would be limited in scope — it would merely put the law on hold, but not declare whether the City Council’s passage of gay marriage is legal — if the Court steps in, it it would make clear the justices want voters to decide on issues of marriage discrimination.

And that would be a damning message for Perry, whose entire purpose is to ask the Court to to overturn the will of voters on this very issue.