(CN) – Same-sex marriage is now legal in the District of Columbia, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stall the city’s first gay marriage law from going into effect.
Opponents of same-sex marriage had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stop the city from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples pending their appeal. They say voters should have been allowed to vote on the issue, a claim that D.C. courts have rejected.
“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 wrote, quoting the high court’s opinion in Whalen v. U.S.
He also noted that Congress had a 30-day window to stop the law from going into effect, but chose not to act.
“I conclude that a stay is not warranted,” he wrote.
Same-sex couples in D.C. began applying for marriage licenses Wednesday, but must wait three full business days to exchange vows.