WASHINGTON -- A Washington, D.C., judge handed supporters of "gay marriage" a victory Jan. 14 when she ruled that city officials were within their rights to turn down conservative efforts to place the issue on the ballot.
The ruling is being appealed.
Judith N. Macaluso, a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, wrote a 23-page opinion affirming a November decision by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, which had ruled that allowing voters to have a say on the issue of "gay marriage" would "authorize discrimination" against homosexuals that is prohibited under the city's Human Rights Act. The board's approval was necessary in order for citizens to begin collecting signatures, which must be equal to 5 percent of all registered voters.
Macaluso's ruling is significant because District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a bill in December to legalize same-sex "marriage." If Congress does not act, the bill will take effect in early March.
The board's action was particularly frustrating to those D.C. citizens who oppose "gay marriage" and who have watched as 31 states voted on the issue, with all 31 affirming the traditional definition of marriage.
The proposed initiative -- supported by such D.C. leaders as Harry Jackson and Walter E. Fauntroy, a civil rights leader who was a friend of Martin Luther King Jr. -- would have defined marriage as only "between a man and a woman." The Alliance Defense Fund sued the D.C. board on behalf of Jackson, Fauntroy and others.
"The people of D.C. have a right to vote on the definition of marriage, and the D.C. Charter guarantees that right," ADF attorney Timothy J. Tracey said in a statement. "We will continue to fight for the people's right to participate in a legitimate democratic process in the district."