D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics rejects anti-same sex marriage petition

A petition filed by an anti-same-sex marriage coalition led by Bishop Harry Jackson was rejected today by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. The petition called for DC to recognize “only marriage between a man and a woman [a]s valid.”

[T]he Board held that such ballot measures do ‘not present a proper subject of initiative because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act (“HRA”).’
The Board’s reasoning in today’s decision also turns on the existing law established by the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009, the one that allows the District to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Council member David Catania said of the decision, “The proposed initiative would have stripped legally married same-sex couples of their vows. Those who proposed the initiative were attempting to write discrimination into our law, and I am pleased that the Board rejected this effort as an impermissible trespass on the human rights of District residents.”

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  • Teresa

    [T]he Board held that such ballot measures do ‘not present a proper subject of initiative because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act (“HRA”).’
    you know what i find ironic about this statement…the fact that same sex marriage isn’t legal under the laws of the U.S, but by select states, and yet here they’re saying “well its prohibited under the Human Rights Act…”
    uh hello? if its prohibited under the Human Rights Act to not acknowledge same sex marriages then why is it illegal in more than 80% of the country?

  • feminismforever

    Because the Human Rights Act only applies to DC

  • aleks

    It’s prohibited under D.C.’s interpretation of D.C.’s Human Rights Act.

  • Rhoanna

    The Human Rights Act being referred to is the DC Human Rights Act of 1977, so it only applies to Washington, DC.

  • James

    This is most ironic.
    We in DC respect the civil right of all couples to get married, period, and we don’t consider that that right to be subject to the tyranny of the majority. In this crucial way, DC is perhaps the place in the United States that most respects civil rights, as the other 50 states have some form of initiative process that can override even the most basic of human rights. I’m incredibly proud of my city government today for doing the right thing, and hope that the rest of the 50 enfranchised states follow DC’s lead.
    Yet all of us residents of DC are still denied our basic civil rights – including the right to full and equal representation in government (that’s one voting representative and two Senators) and the right to full home rule. A Congressional subcommittee or the whole Congress could, with absolutely no input from and no accountability to the residents of DC, irreversibly and unconditionally veto any same-sex marriage legislation we pass, and there wouldn’t be a damn thing I or any other DC resident could do about it.
    This issue needs to be front and center on the radar screen of all Americans. Voters in the 50 enfranchised states need to make DC residents’ basic civil rights a litmus test in their decisions about who to support and who to vote for. If your Representative or Senator won’t expend political capital to ensure that DC residents’ civil rights are finally acknowledged, they don’t deserve your support.

  • Lucy Gillam

    Awesome news!