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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Nixes Challenge to Same-Sex Marriage Law

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed a Christian woman's claim that recent legislation allowing same-sex marriage in the nation's capital violates her right to religious freedom.

Joyce Little sued over two new laws: the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009, which recognizes same-sex marriages, and the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, meant to expand the definition of marriage to include gay couples.

Little, who owns a private tax consulting firm, said the legislation will force her to provide services to same-sex couples in violation of her religious beliefs. She added that the laws violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Home Rule Act and the Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed the case for lack of standing, saying Little has no personal stake in the issue and did not state "any legally cognizable injury in fact."

"Plaintiff is a self-described 'Christian and a District voter against gay marriage, corruption, and lawlessness in the District of Columbia,'" and her claims represent a "generalized grievance," Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Little insisted that she would suffer economic injury, because she might be asked to prepare taxes for same-sex married couples and could be sued if she refuses to do so. But Kollar-Kotelly said Little failed to prove that she has been forced to provide tax or insurance services to same-sex married couples since the law took effect in July 2009.

The judge also rejected Little's claims for violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 15th Amendment.

Little had challenged the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics' decision to deny a proposed ballot initiative, claiming it effectively denied her the right to vote in a referendum on same-sex marriage in D.C.

Such a referendum is government by local law, the judge noted, so Little can't assert federal claims.

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