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The Inside Scoop on the DC Marriage Lawsuit

June 18, 2009

I have the inside scoop because I’ve been hired as counsel to the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the largest and one of the oldest political organizations in the District of Columbia that advocates on behalf of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

I attended the hearing today. The proponents of discrimination — mostly ministers — recognized that time had largely run out for their challenge (mostly due to their waiting 16 days to file a challenge in the first place). Thus they are asking the court to do an extraordinary thing: to stay the legislation from going into effect. The court asked what authority it had to do that. All the proponents could suggest was the “inherent authority of the court.” (That’s legalese for “I punt.”)

But the proponents will have until Monday to find some legal authority. I — and the City attorneys — will respond by Wednesday. And they will reply by Friday. We can expect a ruling sometime by July 6. If they do not obtain a stay, there will be no hearing on the merits and the referendum on recognition of out-of-the-District marriages will be dead.

On the other hand, it is possible I won’t be able to defend my clients–the only people in the lawsuit actually affected by the legislation–at all. The Fundamentalist Christian Alliance Defend Fund is seeking to keep the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club from intervening in the lawsuit. They have until Monday to tell the court why.

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