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Court Rejects Appeal Over D.C. Gay Marriage Law

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Gay Marriage (Couple Getting Married)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who were seeking to overturn the District of Columbia’s gay marriage law.

The court did not comment in turning away a challenge from a Maryland pastor and others who sought to get a measure on the ballot that would have let Washingtonians vote on whether the city should define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Bishop Harry Jackson led the lawsuit against the district’s Board of Elections and Ethics after it refused to put that initiative on the ballot. The board ruled that allowing the ballot question would in effect authorize discrimination.

Washington began recognizing gay marriages performed elsewhere in 2009 and last year began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Two other courts had previously told Jackson that city officials had the authority to keep the measure off the ballot and acted appropriately in barring it.

Jackson said Tuesday he and supporters knew getting the Supreme Court to take the case would be difficult, but he said their efforts were not over.

“The issue of the definition of marriage will have its day in the Supreme Court eventually,” Jackson said. “The essence of what we were after is still very much on the table.”

D.C. council member David Catania, who introduced the bill to make same-sex marriage legal in the city and is one of two openly gay council members, said in a statement that he was “grateful to the court” for not taking the case.

“Today is a great day for human rights, and specifically marriage equality, in the District,” Catania wrote.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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