City Desk

Gay-Marriage Opponents Ask Judge to Stop the Clock

Big showdown in D.C. Superior Court over gay marriage this afternoon!

Here's what's going on: Opponents of the gay-marriage-recognition law passed this spring by the D.C. Council are asking Judge Judith Retchin to step in and stop the law from taking effect. That'd be a bare assertion of power by the judge—and Retchin acknowledged as much: "I question whether the court has the authority to stay the effective date."

That date is July 6, marking the end of the 60-day 30-day period during which the U.S. Congress reviews the marriage-recognition measure. It's a quirk of D.C.'s serfdom that Congress gets this approval window, and it's a quirk that's being exploited by the anti-gay marriage lobby.

Earlier this week, the city's Board of Elections and Ethics turned down an effort by the gay-marriage opponents to subject gay-marriage recognition to a referendum. The rationale for that decision was that such a referendum would violate the minority-protecting D.C. Human Rights Act.

The motion before Retchin would stop the gay-marriage-recognition measure from taking effect so that its opponents, headed by Bishop Harry Jackson, would have a chance to press their case on why a referendum is, in fact, a legal and proper thing to do.

In considering whether she has the power to stop the clock on the effective date of the city's pending law, Retchin made clear that she was making no judgment whatsoever on whether the board of elections erred in nixing the referendum. The effective-date question, said Retchin, is the "operative issue before the court. It will really not be the substance of the decision of the board of elections."

Given the long period that D.C. laws spend in congressional purgatory, Retchin pronounced it "astounding" that the legal question of whether the court can step in during this period and effectively freeze the process in its bureaucratic tracks. But the judge, indeed, appears to be treading new territory here.

On Monday, referendum proponents/gay-marriage opponents will file arguments in the case, to be followed two days later by the elections board and the city's Office of the Attorney General. Lotta paper flying around.

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  • Troy Petenbrink

    I guest the 'right' only thinks a judge is an activist if they support same-sex marriage! Hypocrites.

  • the pulpit

    Fact; Rev. Jackson is being handsomely compensated$$ for this crusade.

    My people should be heavily focused on lil' Malik and Tamika who read below basic and 2 grades below in math; to include lil Malik high probability of incarceration and a victim of homicide, and more likely to contract HIV/AIDS.

    Jackson and opponents shout "sanctity of marriage". They denounce Heather Has 2 Mommies, but what about Tamika who has 4 baby daddies. Note: 72% black children are born out of wedlock.

    I don't see nor hear pastors marching nor radio broadcasting solutions to these major Black community issues. I hate to say it, but my people are being lead toward Self Destruction by rogue religious leaders.

    Gay Marriage is NOT an concern to Black America. We should embrace marriage equality and gay couples.

  • anti-pulpit

    How racist to suggest that Blacks should stay out of governing themselves in this political battle and go tend to the plantation. 72% must be a "ghetto" figure, if you can't get it right, get o number and hope it goes unchallenged.

    Homosexuals changing the definition of the word "marriage" is of great concern to the Black community and those of us who are against it can envision both the immediate and long-term implications for our children and families -- and it is not good.

    Furthermore, religious freedom seems only to apply to those that don't want any. If the Bible says "its a sin" and there are those who say "we agree" then why can't the other side say "cool, we disagree"? Followed by a "legal, proper" [no-name-calling?] fight -spoils to the winner. Too much like right I guess. Strong-arm tactics are a pro-homosexuality strategy, not vice-versus, like sneaking homosexual curriculums into public schools and making them mandatory w/o parental consent.

    If you really are Black, you should be incensed that that activist have reduced your culture, ancestry, heritage, nationality, the civil rights struggle in America and Africa, your racial identity and ethnicity to the equivalent of a sexual orientation.

  • Reid

    Methinks "anti-pulpit" is that bigot Q. If *you* are really black you'd understand that when civil rights are at issue, there is no middle ground. A hollow and hateful argument needs to be called out for what it is. You don't want gays marrying because you think it will debase straight marriage simply through association. You're no different than a racist White man who quits his country club because they admit a Jewish man or a Black man.

    The most ridiculous aspect to your hateful position is the notion that the concept of "biblical" marriage hasn't already been thoroughly torn to shreds by straight people. Thou shall not divorce? Sorry, God, we just really don't want to follow that one. Thou shall not have sex before marriage? Ummm, no; we'll skip that one too. The woman shall become the property of the man? Sorry God.

    Of all the biblical dictates that you're comfortable ignoring, why is this one just so stuck in your craw? It's because it has nothing to do with religion. You just hate gays. Because you're a bigot. And that's that.

  • Q

    Reid, you are SADLY mistaken. Methinks you have found another person to fight with. I've said my peace and I have grown tired of this discussion. Your response does show that besides the name calling, you've missed the point of all of my posts. Rather than explain it to you, please understand that there are others in varying degrees who don't support your position.

    Last time I checked, everyone is entitled to their opinion. In as I fight for my first amendment rights, I must also fight for yours. I guess you are mad that Obama is moving ever so gingerly on this topic as well, based on what was in the Washington Post today.

  • Q

    LL, I thought the 60 day Review Period was a little fishy. Did it used to be 60 or was it always 30? Can you start an anti-hot-issue blog, for folks who want to deal with the less volatile issues of the day? or is that the purpose of City Desk, LOL!

    Anyways, this BLOG (and others of similar topics) is powerful in that it can incite all sorts of verbal and electronic mayhem. It's good though. Where else can I be continuously berated and insulted by faceless contributors for what I believe in. I've even been accused of changing my identity on the blog. Hilarious!

  • Mike DeBonis

    No, it's always been 30. D.C. Home Rule Act Sect. 602(c)(1)

    Where else can you be continuously berated and insulted by faceless contributors for what you believe in?

    That may be the essential purpose of the entire Internet.

  • anti-pulpit

    to Reid: one sin doesn't justify the whole boatload or in this case a whole boatload doesn't justify one.

    find another "biblical" issue in the news daily, being marched for and against, being voted for and against,being protested for and against, dividing families, churches and states, shutting down businesses, and maybe i'll focus on that commandment, too.

    oh wait - I'm already pro-life

    p.s. The Bible says that in the last days that the two prevalent forms of idolatry will be sexual sin [all kinds: fornication, homosexality, pedophilia, adultery, etc.] and child sacrifice [abortion and other forms of killing children for convenience] so thats why the intense focus

  • D

    People should not throw stones at gays. Black people were once considered 2/3 human and were slaves to the white man, that used the same bible to make their abuse justified
    Grow up; the people that have problems with gay marriage are usually gay. And that’s a fact
    I wish all your children’s -children end up gay.
    And don’t you dare watch us on TV listen to our music or wear our clothes.

  • D


    if you quote the bible get the chapter and verse out OK mr anti-pulpit
    Your statment is false and out of order. Are you slow?

  • D


    do the world a favor and stop posting

  • D

    John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Child, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life".

  • Wrack

    So frustrating when people invoke the 1st Amendment when there is no government action involved. You can't complain about your 1st Amendment rights being violated just because some private citizen argues against you. When she does so, she isn't violating your 1st Amendment rights -- she's talking to you.

    Leave the 1st Amendment alone until the government stops you from expressing yourself; THEN you can whip it out and start cutting a bitch.

  • the pulpit

    Anti-pulpit said, "Homosexuals changing the definition of the word “marriage” ...and those of us who are against it can envision both the immediate and long-term implications for our children and families — and it is not good. "

    And that's exactly my point: Tamika got 4 baby daddies and NOT married is not good and a huge tax burden to all gay and straight citizens.

  • H.Jackson

    There are no constitutionally consistent justifications for keeping 'genitals of one spouse' as a critical requirement for 'legal' marriage. Sterile heterosexual atheists can get 'legal' marriage without procreative ability, OR religious approval of the union.

    Lets let the people vote on whether or not Satanists can get legal marriage.

    Or, lets go back and let the people vote on interracial marriage.

    Somehow, the will of the people is only 'silenced' when they are rightfully blocked from imposing unconstitutional rhetoric on the laws of the minority.

    Can Jewish parents ban all pork? They don't want their kids to be shown that its acceptable to eat lets ban pork for everyone else too.

    People 'allude' to the 'dangers' in the future from gay marriage...yet refuse to actually EXPLAIN them. They raise a fuss to block gay marriage, yet have done nothing to ban violent rap music.

    As a black man, I've studied our history. Before races met each other an began racism...people oppressed their gay members. Their fight is OLDER than the black fight against racism. Fact.

    Google Bayard Rustin.

  • D

    Part of the reason the views diverge so much is because Christians think of the Bible differently. Some see it as literally the word of God, divine inspiration which humans should not question. Others see it rather as a book which is a witness to God's message, but one which was written by humans and thus has flaws.

  • the pulpit

    OK anti-pulpit, I got the solution:


    So, lets look at a Dan Divorce draft:
    1. A constitutional amendment banning divorce.
    2. A federal law making adultery a felony.
    3. A federal law making cunnilingus and fellatio (i.e., sodomy) a felony, even for married couples in the privacy of their own homes.

    Try taking that for a public vote!!

  • H.Jackson

    Its crucial to this issue, to note that just because a religion cites something as a 'sin' does not mean it is 'illegal' in America.

    Taking the Lord's name in vain is a terrible sin...but it is legal.

    Outright defiance and atheism are 'sins', but are legal.

    Worshipping all other Gods, is a 'sin' but it is totally legal.

    Blasphemy, the highest and most unforgivable sin,

    We do not have a Christian Theocracy. (Thank goodness we dont)

  • Truth Hurts

    Q can, and should, weigh in with his comments. And people who disagree with one another on this matter should stop demonizing those with differing opinions. Name calling is not helpful to a thoughful debate. By the way, I disagree with Q, in case anyone thinks I'm endorsing his viewpoint.

  • anti-pulpit

    slavery is to African-Americans as abortion is to children; other references here are apples and oranges i.e. invalid.

    and man, can't anyone here count? Blacks were considered 3/5ths human not 2/3rds...

    i mentioned fornication, adultery, pedophilia also, so why curse my posterity and say I'm throwing stones at only 'gays'? no one has justified out of wedlock sex

    lies. u guys don't fight fair. and u proved my point about using children to advance a political agenda or in this case just attack someone of another belief.

    In Jesus' name all of my children, children's children, loved ones, family members and friends will make the right choices about their God-given sexuality and walk in full 100% deliverance from everything and anything that is not from God. I plead the blood of Jesus over them to protect them and heal them in every area. I pray for all of the people who have posted here tonight. The Lord touch their hearts, have mercy, protect and bless them; minister peace and wholeness to all of our lives, in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.

  • H.Jackson

    So basically, your Creator God is all powerful...except when it comes to making everyone a heterosexual.

    Tell us the definite effect of legal gay marriage that is visible and provable enough to justify an eternal ban on all gay marriage.

    Keep in mind, that it is legal to take the Lord's name in vain.

    Keep in mind, that it is legal to curse God.

    Keep in mind, that while you are worrying about the girl with two moms...Shaniqua has 4 baby-daddys.

  • the pulpit

    Every 26 minutes a child drops out of school. Yes, 26 min.!! You and I cannot waist another minute wasting resources on marriage equality. Lets take all this pontification and address the #1 civil rights issues of our time: Education.

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  • Q

    What an angry, self-serving blog this has become. Thanks Truth Hurts for proving that even if someone disagrees they don't have to be disagreeable. I pretty much left this topic alone but D and Wrack want to instigate a response. So respond I will:

    Whether I believe in same-sex marriage or not is ultimately up to me. No person, being, entity, government, etc. can supplant or control my mind. Influence, cajole, or disagree with they may, but ultimately my beliefs are my own. I say this because at the heart of the gay bashing and religion bashing is fundamentally a difference of opinion. Duh... everyone gets that but very few are willing to explore the full range of the argument. Most, especially in this post, are content with their argument (their side) and that's that. But every week, I'm reading the same defensive phrases, words, etc. Either you're considered a bigot or a {Insert offensive GLBT term here}. Polarizing things further, is the question of homosexuality itself…scientific evidence (depending upon the researcher) proves or disproves being born that way. Psychological evidence proves or disproves choosing homosexuality as a lifestyle. African-Americans and women are challenged based upon their own minority treatment for not supporting the bill. GLBT supporting the bill are considered patently immoral, promiscuous deviants that need deliverance from God.


    Things don't HAVE to be fair to be considered equal, and equality in some cases shows UNFAIRNESS. Before you jump down my throat, let me explain. To the Bible readers most have heard of King Solomon. He was purportedly a wise king. When two women had a dispute about the matriarchal authority (basically who was the real mother), Solomon offer an EQUAL compromise...cut the child in half. Clearly Solomon knew that "all things being equal" that would not result in FAIR treatment of the real mother and not in the best interest of the child. Likewise under the Judaic/Levitical laws SINNERS, which include idolaters, thieves, fornicators, liars, blasphemers, coveters, adulterers, etc., faced in the extreme circumstances DEATH for their actions. “All things being equal”, for every crime there was a prescriptive sentence/punishment and had justice been meted out according to the Old Testament, I doubt very seriously if there would be a Religious Right, an Liberal Left, or moderates in between left on this Earth. Especially in the quasi-Judeo-Christian majority of the United States.

    Where am I going with this? The concept of Equality and Fairness often intersect, but they are not the same.

    Granting same-sex marriages may be fair but it will not be equal. Same-sex marriages will be put under more scrutiny than those of heterosexuals. Same-sex marriages will force declarations of one’s sexual orientation and provoke more classification. While no one questions the legitimacy of a heterosexual marriage if both parties declare it, it will take some time for such legitimacy to be unchallenged for homosexual couples. Mainly because, although there were homosexual companions throughout history, marriage in most religions and laws is implied and defined as a husband and wife, man and woman in a legal and spiritual covenant. Religions and laws are man-made, so one could argue that even from a divine or atheist point of view, marriage was defined this way. Because of the dissimilarity of the basic tenant of marriage participants, same-sex marriages will never be equal to heterosexual ones. I know this will anger some and incite many flames, but certain things may approach equality, but never be equal. EEOC, Affirmative Action, etc. helped level the playing field, but by no means is the employment structure or workforce equal for minorities. It may be fair in terms of who can apply, but the ending result is that proportionately speaking, it’s not equal.

    With all that said, I use God given discernment when approaching this issue of same-sex marriage. God-given doesn’t mean quoting scripture from The Torah, Bible, or Koran, as they all did not originate in English and even interpretations of the “so-called” original texts may vary. What I discerned from this issue is a population that feels marginalized based on perceived rights. Granted we can find more reasons to be separate, folks are actually fighting over legitimizing a union. A union that doesn't necessarily need to be broken, but one that may not be equal or approach equality nonetheless.

  • H.Jackson

    As blacks, we realize that oppression against homosexuals is OLDER than racism. Before the races ever met...each race oppressed its OWN homosexuals.

    Injustice anywhere, is injustice everywhere.

    Why do black people not know anything about black gay civil rights leader, Bayard Rustin?

    Why are the gays expected to wait until all wars have ended, all children (of heterosexuals) are making A's and not dropping out, all diseases are cured, all financial woes resolved, all energy problems addressed......before expecting 'equality'?

    If anyone can name a SINGLE constitutionally CONSISTENT justification to limit LEGAL marriage based on 'genitalia'...please speak now. Just remember that there is no law saying that legal marriage is for those who can procreate. Thats how sterile people can get married. Thats how straight couples can legally sterilize themselves after marriage...but stay married.