It appears that gay marriage opponents had a bit of help from Big Law yesterday as they tried to prevent Washington’s new law allowing same sex unions from going into effect.
A group led by the Bishop Harry Jackson, of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., simultaneously petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court and filed a federal lawsuit in a failed effort to halt the new law from taking hold this morning. On the filings: Foley & Lardner partner Cleta Mitchell, who according to her firm bio has served as counsel to both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Jackson and his fellow gay marriage foes have argued that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics wrongfully denied them a chance to put the gay marriage bill before a public referendum. The D.C. Court of Appeals denied their request for a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the bill from becoming law.
Mitchell was listed alongside lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund on a petition asking Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. to stay the new law until the full Supreme Court could decide whether to hear their appeal of the local court decision. The same lawyers appeared on a lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia which argued that the Board of Elections and Ethics had violated D.C. residents’ due process rights, and asked for restraining order staying the law. The suit landed before the District Court’s Judge Richard Roberts.
Both Judges Roberts denied the stays for roughly the same reason: Jackson and co. have already begun seeking a ballot initiative to repeal the gay marriage law, making a stay to allow a referendum unnecessary
Mitchell and Foley & Lardner did not immediately return calls for comment.