The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to hear a case regarding the possibility of Washington, D.C. residents to vote in a referendum on the city’s same-sex marriage law.
According to reporting by The Washington Blade, the court has scheduled a conference for Friday to discuss whether to hear the case Jackson v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, a case brought by a Bishop Harry Jackson, a conservative African-American pastor seeking a referendum. The Blade writes that, according to a court spokesman, a decision will likely be announced Tuesday.
Following the approval of the same-sex marriage law in December 2009, the Board of Elections and Ethics denied an effort to have the issue decided by referendum. The suit currently under consideration by the Supreme Court was decided in favor of city officials by the D.C. Court of Appeals.
In contention with the case is the city’s Human Rights Act, which forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. City officials have argued that a referendum would violate the city’s guarantee against such discrimination.
Proponents of a referendum point to a D.C. Court of Appeals decision from 1995 where the court decided that the Human Rights Act did not entitle citizens to same-sex marriage.
Polling by The Washington Post in February 2010 found that nearly six in ten D.C. voters supported same-sex marriage. Support was highest among whites, with 83 percent support, and significantly lower among African-Americans, at 37 percent support.