The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics denied a petition yesterday to have a ballot initiative for voters to decide the definition of marriage between a man and woman. The denial also occurred the same day D.C. Council decided to schedule a Dec. 1 initiative vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Marriage Initiative of 2009 was filed by the Stand4MarriageDC coalition. The city has also passed a law earlier this year recognizing same-sex marriage in other jurisdictions. The two-member elections board denied the petition because it “authorizes discrimination prohibited under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.”
Bishop Harry Jackson, the lead sponsor of the initiative and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, told The Washington Times the board denied the city’s residents their rights.
“This undemocratic decision is outrageous and a slap in the face of every resident of the District of Columbia,” Jackson said. “To deny the people their fundamental right to vote on such an important issue as the definition of marriage in our society is simply appalling.”
However, people such as David Catania, a D.C. Council member, said he supports the council’s decision to ban the petition.
“The proposed initiative would have stripped legally married same-sex couples of their vows,” Catania said. “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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