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Supreme Court allows DC marriages

Washington, DC — In an order issued late Tuesday evening by Chief Justice John Roberts, the US Supreme Court refused to block a gay marriage ordinance passed by the District of Columbia's City Council.

Chief Justice John Roberts
Chief Justice John Roberts
In a short opinion, Roberts wrote "Without addressing the merits of petitioners' underlying claim, however, I conclude that a stay is not warranted. First, as "a matter of judicial policy"-if not "judicial power"-"it has been the practice of the Court to defer to the decisions of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern."

"Second, the Act at issue was adopted by the Council and placed before Congress for the 30-day period of review required by the D. C. Charter," Roberts continued. "A joint resolution of disapproval by Congress would prevent the Act from going into effect, but Congress has chosen not to act."

A Congressional veto could have overruled the Council, but attempts by conservatives were blocked in the House. Conservative groups then went to the Courts, but failed.

On December 15, 2009, the D.C. City Council approved a Marriage Equality Act in Washington by a vote of 11-2. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed the measure.

The District of Columbia will begin issuing marriage license applications to same-sex couples tomorrow. There is a three day waiting period in DC for marriage and the first ceremonies are expected on Saturday.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has suspended social service programs it runs for the District in retaliation of the new law, threatening the welfare of tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care. The Church is fearful of being required to extend benefits to same sex partners of employees and has currently suspended partner and spousal benefits to all employees, straight or gay.
 
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