2 washingtonblade.com • december 24, 2010
D.C. files Supreme Court briefdefending marriage law
D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles and other city attor-neys have urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to take a casefled by a local minister seeking to overturn the city’s same-sexmarriage law.In a 35-page legalbrie fled Dec. 17, thecity attorneys arguethat the D.C. Court oAppeals ruled correctlyearlier this year that theDistrict has authority toprohibit a voter initiativeor reerendum seekingto overturn the ReligiousFreedom and MarriageEquality AmendmentAct o 2009.“This case is not im-portant enough to meritreview” by the SupremeCourt because it “lacks national importance as it is confnedin eect to the District,” Nickles and the other attorneys saidin their brie.The case, known as Jackson v. the D.C. Board o Electionsand Ethics, was initiated by Bishop Harry Jackson and otherlocal opponents o same-sex marriage earlier this year.The city fled its brie on the last day such a brie could befled under Supreme Court rules.Jackson and his allies are seeking to overturn separate rul-ings by the city’s election board and the D.C. Superior Courtand Court o Appeals that the District’s initiative and reeren-dum law doesn’t allow ballot measures that would have theeect o violating the city’s Human Rights Act. The act, amongother things, bans discrimination based on sexual orientation.Most legal observers say the Supreme Court traditionallydeers to state appeals courts –- including the D.C. Court oAppeals — in matters that don’t have national implications.The observers, including local gay rights attorney MarkLevine, have said the high court would be violating its ownprecedent and possibly showing a sign o bias against same-sex marriage should it rule in avor o Jackson’s petition.The city’s brie also seeks to reute a claim by Jackson’s at-torneys that the Supreme Court can take on a case without na-tional signifcance i the lower court ruling is reached throughan “egregious error.”“In act, the appeals court decision is correct” and the“egregious error” argument doesn’t apply, Nickles and histeam o city lawyers argue in the brie.Jackson’s petition to the high court, known as a Petition ora Writ o Certiorari,” calls or the court to take on the case andinvolves a decision by the nine justices to accept or reject thatrequest. Should they accept the case, the justices would thenreview it on its merits through oral and written arguments andissue a separate ruling.Arthur Spitzer, legal director o the ACLU’s D.C. area ofce,said the Supreme Court is likely to decide whether to acceptor reject the Jackson case in January.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Mova closes temporarily;Straits of Malaya to shut down
The Logan Circle gay bar Mova at 1435 P St., N.W., closedits doors Sunday night ollowing a weekend-long “movingparty” that owner Babak Movahedi said highlighted his plansor reopening the bar in the spring o 2011 at an as-yet-undis-closed location in D.C.Meanwhile, the gay-owned restaurant Straits o Malaya,which has operated at 1836 18th St., N.W., since 1989, will beclosing permanently ollowing its New Year’s Eve dinner serv-ings, according to owner Lawrence “Larry” Tan.Tan and his partner, Ken Megill, will retain the adjoining gaybar Larry’s Lounge, which they also own, while the two devotemost o their time operating a non-proft group they ounded
this week named two gay ofcials to his administration.
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
Richardson, Collins to bepart of new administration
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.firstname.lastname@example.org
D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray announced thathe is retaining gay television producer Eric Richard-son, a Fenty administration appointee, as directoro the city’s Ofce o Cable Television.At a news conerence at his mayoral transitionteam ofces, Gray also announced he was naminggay attorney Ronald Collins as director o the city’sOfce o Boards and Commissions, a post that Col-lins held during the administration o ormer MayorAnthony Williams.Richardson and Collins were among seven high-level appointments that Gray announced at a newsconerence last week. Others included the headso the city’s Department o Public Works, Depart-ment o Motor Vehicles, Department o Consumerand Regulatory Aairs, Ofce o Asian and PacifcIslander Aairs, and Ofce o Planning.“I am absolutely delighted to appoint theseseven District government employees,” Gray said.“Residents can rest assured they will work with myadministration to bring new and innovative ideas,projects, programs and improvements to respondto the needs o those who live, work and do busi-ness in the District o Columbia.”Gray said he expects to announce his appointeeor the post o director o the Ofce o Gay, Lesbian,Bisexual and Transgender Aairs next week.Richardson had served as chair o the city’sBlack Pride estival, an LGBT event, prior to MayorAdrian Fenty’s decision to name him director o theOfce o Cable Television in 2007.“Richardson has helped to make OCT an award-winning government agency,” Gray said, notingthat the ofce regulates all cable TV providers in thecity and manages the city’s two municipal govern-ment TV stations — Channels 13 and 16.Richardson also directs OCT’s production de-partment, which produces “human interest, history,science, health, liestyle, and news and public a-airs programming,” Gray said.During the past our years, Collins has served asassistant secretary o the D.C. City Council as a Grayappointee during Gray’s tenure as Council Chair.He has served as a city government ofcial ormore than 20 years, working, among other places,as senior policy ofcer in the area o contractingand procurement in the Departments o Health,Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Human Ser-vices, and Libraries and Recreation, according toinormation released by Gray’s transition team.Gray noted that many o the boards and com-missions, which perorm important city regulatoryunctions, currently have vacancies that need im-mediate attention.“Mr. Collins’ extensive experience working or theDistrict government, demonstrated involvement incommunity service, and his understanding o the im-portant role that appointed commissioners play, makehim well-qualifed to assist me in seating the right peo-ple on city boards and commissions,” he said.Richardson and Collins’ appointments came oneday ater Gray announced he was retaining Cathy Lani-er as the city’s police chie and named ormer D.C. Fireand Emergency Medical Services deputy chie Ken-neth Ellerbe as the new chie o Fire and EMS.Some LGBT activists expressed concern overthe Ellerbe appointment, saying Gray broke a prom-ise he made to the Gay & Lesbian Activists Allianceduring the election campaign that he would allowthe LGBT community to participate in the selectionprocess o a new Fire and EMS chie.In past years, Fire and EMS workers have beenaccused o reusing to provide treatment to injuredgay and transgender citizens allegedly on groundsthat they were earul o contracting AIDS. The de-partment later agreed to requests by LGBT groupsthat it provide LGBT sensitivity training to all Fireand EMS employees.But relations between the department and theLGBT community worsened a short time later whenlesbian Kenda Kirby, who had been hired by thedepartment to organize the sensitivity training, fleda discrimination suit against the Fire and EMS De-partment. Kirby charged that high-level ofcialsailed to properly investigate anti-gay harassmentagainst her among some co-workers. She saidsome o the ofcials also questioned whether sheshould be allowed to use the women’s bathroom atthe Fire and EMS headquarters where she worked.Ellerbe, who worked in the department at the time,could not be immediately reached to determine hisviews on the case. The city eventually reached anout-o-court settlement with Kirby during the admin-istration o Mayor Anthony Williams. The terms o thesettlement were not publicly disclosed.Fire and EMS ofcials subsequently created thenew department position o liaison to the LGBT com-munity as activists continued to monitor the progresso the department’s LGBT sensitivity training program.
Gray names two gay
officials to gov’t posts
Continues on page 5
Washington Blade fle photo by Michael Key