Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Supreme Court Rejects Ill. Anti-Gay Marriage Case

Supreme Court Rejects Ill. Anti-Gay Marriage Case
Copyright by The Edge
Tuesday Feb 20, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case brought by an Illinois anti-gay group that tried to put a statewide advisory referendum opposing marriage and relationship rights for same-sex couples on last November’s ballot but lacked an adequate number of valid voter signatures.

Lambda Legal, the national GLBT advocacy organization, welcomed the decision, announced Feb. 20. James Madigan, a staff attorney at Lambda’s Midwest regional office in Chicago, said the justices "rejected a desperate attempt to undermine the will of the people and push ahead a radical measure that the people of Illinois clearly did not want on their ballot. The court has respected Illinois’ right to apply the same referendum rules to everyone, and has stopped Protect Marriage Illinois from trampling the rights of Illinois voters."

Madigan worked on the Illinois Board of Elections and federal court proceedings in the case with Patricia Logue, Lambda’s director of constitutional litigation, and attorneys from two law firms.

Under Illinois law, the anti-gay group needed the signatures of 283,111 registered voters to place its proposed referendum on the November 2006 ballot. Lambda Legal represented Fair Illinois, a coalition created to oppose the referendum, and five individuals.

In papers filed with the state board of elections, Fair Illinois demonstrated that the petitions PMI submitted had tens of thousands of invalid signatures. A random sampling by the board of elections also found insufficient support presented by PMI. The anti-gay group was unable to counter the findings. After being denied a place on the ballot for the referendum, PMI brought the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the Illinois requirements were unconstitutional under federal law.


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