(for the other 95% of America)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Supreme Court Will Not Revive D.C. Same-Sex Marriage Law

Today the Supreme Court declined to renew a lawsuit to continue a voter initiative in Washington D.C. to ban same-sex marriage. The D.C. Appeals Court decided it wouldn’t allow a voter initiative because it could cause discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This is a huge win for gay/lesbian activists in the area, where same-sex marriage was legalized last year. The decision marks the second time an appeals court has successfully struck down a same-sex marriage ban by voter initiative (the other being California’s Proposition 8).

The case in DC, however, is markedly different because the Appeals Court has stepped in the way of the voter initiative process itself. Proponents of the referendum say that only Congress has the power to set policy on ballot initiatives. This is indeed a fine line the Appeals Court is crossing, and one of the biggest conundrums about voter initiatives -- how is the judicial branch supposed to act if voters want to enact an initiative that is unconstitutional?

Should states be allowed to submit referendums stating that, since blue-eyed people are better than brown-eyed people, they get more tax breaks? Should states even give voters the option to vote on initiatives? Should the general public be entrusted to make policies that affect the lives of millions of people?

It seems to me that we should let politicians do the policy-making. Isn’t that what we pay them for?

Further Reading:
Huffington Post: Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Over DC Same-Sex Marriage Law
Washington Post: Supreme Court refuses to revive effort to put D.C...

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