Washington: The US Supreme Court refused on
Tuesday to block the District of Columbia`s gay marriage law,
freeing the nation`s capital to issue its first marriage
licenses to same-sex couples the following day.
Opponents of gay marriage in the nation`s capital had
asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stop the city from issuing
the licenses today while they appealed.
They argued that DC voters should have been allowed to
vote on the issue. Local courts have rejected the opponents`
"It has been the practice of the court to defer to the
decisions of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters
of exclusively local concern," Roberts, writing for the court,
He also pointed out that Congress could have voted to
stop the city government from putting the law into effect and
Opponents have also asked city courts to allow a voter
referendum on gay marriage, and they "will have the right to
challenge any adverse decision ... in this court at the
appropriate time," Roberts said.
The city has said Wednesday probably will be the first
day same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses. Couples
still will have to wait three full business days for their
licenses before exchanging vows.
Same-sex marriages also are legal in New Hampshire,
Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut and Vermont.