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Elections and Ethics board rules against referendum on same-sex marriage ... again

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Thursday, for the third time this year, that a proposed referendum on whether the city should legalize same-sex marriage cannot move forward.

The board said that city law does not allow a referendum or initiative on a matter covered by the Human Rights Act, which was designed to protect gay men and lesbians and other minorities from discrimination.

The decision is another setback for opponents of same-sex marriage. Last month, the Superior Court judge upheld a previous elections board ruling denying a public vote. But opponents are appealing the decision.

The same-sex marriage bill, which Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) signed in December, is slated to take effect next month if it survives a congressional review.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 4, 2010; 1:21 PM ET
Categories:  City Life , Congressional Oversight , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig , same-sex marriage  
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Now, stick with it. Don't backdown from the bible-thumbers and intolerant.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 4, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that the BOEE has to by law keep holding hearings on this nonsense. I mean, how many ways can these religious zealot bigots keep trying to say "we hate gays and lesbians and don't want them to have any rights'. I mean, that self proclaimed bishop ( I haven't seen any documentation that proves he really is a bishop) is from Maryland. Why doesn't the District investigate him? It is obvious he lied about where he lives.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | February 4, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

While I'm not against same-sex marriages I would like to know how many city laws do not allow a referendum or initiative. Referendums and initiatives are the forms the average citizen uses to enact changes. I wondering if the city residents can remove Fenty from office or is there a law that disallows that?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | February 4, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse


There actually is a recall process outlined in the DC Charter, and there is currently a recall petition in circulation right now to remove Fenty from office.

It is not that the Marriage Equality Law does not allow a referendum. The issue is that the BOEE has declared that allowing a referendum on this issue would violate the Human Rights Charter of the DC Charter. Basically it would allow ALL citizens to vote on the civil rights of SOME citizens. The DC Human Rights Charter was put in to place to prevent majority rule voting on a person's rights as it is deemed inherently unfair.

As long as your initiative does not violate a class of DC citizen's civil rights, you can draft an initiative or referendum for just about anything. Want to create term limits for the Council? Want to cap Councilmember pay? Want to make the AG an elected not appointed position? Want to create a law allowing for the impeachment of the Mayor? Go for it!

Posted by: scinerd1 | February 4, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Homophobia is intolerance which brings no benefit. The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has done the correct thing in prohibiting a referendum on the right of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is a right which must be accessible in every state of the United States. A referendum on that right would be a gamble on human rights. Washington, D.C. is the best in the Mid-Atlantic when it comes to equality for LGBT people although same-sex marriages performed there won't be recognized until late winter.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | February 4, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Liberty for All is out to destroy religion:

Branding people who oppose the city's plans as "homophobes" is a blatant attack on people of faith.

We do not suffer from any 'phobia!' We are not victims of any emotional disfunction. It is not because of any warped 'phobia' that we want to take the city's nose out of endorsing this behavior.

It is because we are people of faith. We love the Bible and believe it to be the word of God. The Bible is not sick, nor does it suffer from any phobia.

The Bible tells us this activity is not right, and we hew to our belief.

This is called faith in God. It's not a sickness. Stop smearing people of faith!

Posted by: Jerusalimight | February 5, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

legalize it and they can all come to da city and live happily ever after.the politicians control the votes,not the voter. must be something in the constitution aclu can find that violates voting rights. what BS

Posted by: pofinpa | February 5, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Jerusalimight defends homophobes everywhere by hiding them beneath the robe of faith thus insulting faith and people of faith everywhere. Look, if it waddles like a duck, quacks like a duck and we call it a duck, it's not smearing or defaming ducks to call it a duck. For bible idolators such as yourself to use the bible and God and faith to dehumanize people by denying them rights is hypocritical and blasphemous to boot. The only one confused here is you and your homophobe cohorts, just as no one would confuse a Klansman hiding behind his robe spewing racist filth for an authentic Christian. Gay people are human beings and they deserve the protection of the consitution. period.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | February 5, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Get over it people!

Posted by: lidiworks1 | February 5, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

There must be a lot of money in the "hate-gay-for-pay" industry because people like "Bishop" Jackson, not even a DC resident, and Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown of the inaccurately named National Organization for Marriage wouldn't be so obsessed with same-sex marriage if they weren't making so much money. I looked at NOM's financials and Brown gets paid $130,000 annually to work against marriage equality. When you point out to these people that they're hurting the children of same-sex couples by denying their parents the right to marry, they just shrug and look at their bank statements. There is no worse evil than harming children in order to make a buck.

Posted by: jdavis115 | February 5, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

the only remedy is to vote the council out and replace them with people that actually hear the concerns of the people...
when a difficult issue comes up, the people should vote on it...

Posted by: DwightCollins | February 5, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

DwightCollins: Have you even read the DC Charter and the DC Human Rights Act? People can vote on issues that are PROPER for a referendum or initiative. Any proposal that violates the DC Charter or DC Human Rights Act is not a PROPER subject for either, hence, they are illegal and cannot be placed for a vote. It really is simple. DC has has built into its charter protections for all of its citizens against racism, bigotry, discrimination and hate. Why in the world would decent people ever want to vote to undue such protections? Would anyone want to put their civil rights up for a vote? I think not. Educate yourself on the law and why certain issues are not permissible for a vote before you join the ignorant crowd of 'let the people vote'. Be better than them, be educated about the city you live in. If you don't live in DC, then mind your own business.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | February 5, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Bible idolators like Jerusalimight are actually pretty funny. It is amazing that that they seem to think they are so enlightened as to know what part of God's word to pay attention to--clearly they either haven't read the entire good book or they have absolutely no intention of doing anything but cherry picking to suit their hatred.

Posted by: streff | February 5, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

If people of faith want to avoid being "smeared" they might want to be careful of where, why and how they launch their attacks.

Posted by: m991 | February 5, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Jerusalem Might, where is your petition to outlaw bacon and clam and shrimp sales at Whole Foods and Safeway and Harris Teeter? Where is your petition to outlaw H & M from selling that poly-blend cotton-nylon stretchy scarf that is draped around your neighbor's neck that you so covet? The Bible says those things are wrong too, yet as pointed out, you cherry pick the verses you follow and those you choose not to follow.

Posted by: sb433 | February 5, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

People have the right to vote on issues. The court here is interfering with the democratic process. The judges need to be impeached because they are trying to force their will on the people. These judges are nothing but dictators.

It is our right as Americans to vote and the DC courts are taking away that right.

If the majority of citizens votes to allow homosexuals to marry then so be it. If not, then so be it.

There is no constitutional right for homosexuals to marry.

Posted by: JuiceHim | February 5, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's always amusing to me how bible beaters warn of what will happen to me on Judgement Day - but I have a strange feeling it is they who will be unpleasantly surprised.

Posted by: m991 | February 5, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

You know, I have faith in God, but I do not see any reason why we should restrict people from marrying whoever they want to marry. I find it hilarious that people rely on a book that was written not only by MEN, but has also been consistently "rewritten" throughout the years. If the Bible told you to jump off a bridge at the age of 25, would you?

Posted by: sighnyc | February 5, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The bigots are using the same tired justifications that they've used in civil rights battles again and again. These very same arguments were raised against legalizing interracial marriage. When will you folks understand the fundamental concept that we do not live in a society run by mob rule? Minorities have rights. If everything was decided solely by popular vote, how many years longer would slavery and segregation have been legal in certain states? If you don't believe gay marriage is appropriate, then don't have one. Stop telling other people how to live their lives, worry about your own.

Posted by: bandit1972 | February 5, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

JuiceHim wrote: "People have the right to vote on issues."
Perhaps we should organize a binding referendum on whether you should be allowed to live, since you say this is my right. You OK with that?

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 5, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Coming from a Christian stand point, the bible does not endorse sin of any kind. However, Jesus did say to a group of people who were ready to stone this woman for adultery; "those without sin, cast the first stone." No one was able to cast that stone. With that being a perfect example, as Christians we all have sinned and continue to do so. No one is perfect but God. We strive to be more like him each and everyday. Far as gay marriage, it’s a right that should not be taken away, especially when we have clearly created the civil rights act that goes against discrimination. Religion is what an individual believes and should not be the basis of making any decision concerning someone who may or may not follow your religious beliefs. It is time for us to separate religion from laws, which is design to protect and uphold what is right without allowing religion to make these decisions.

Posted by: mecoates39 | February 5, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the "religious" crowd, including the "Bishop" from Maryland spend as much time protesting divorce--how about a referendum banning divorce in DC--as they do worrying what two people want to do in their own private lives.

Posted by: roberthenkel | February 5, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

One other thought--Marriage in the USA is a SECULAR institution. It is granted, and disolved, by our government--NOT religion. Just exactly where do people go to get a divorce, their priest? Minister? Rabbi? No, a judge. A SECULAR judge. Why? Because marriage is established by government and can only be disolved by government--MY government. My government that CANNOT offer one American a right--to marry--and deny that same right--to marry--to another American. Period.

Religion has NOTHING to do with marriage. Try as you might to turn this discussion into a religious issue, in the end your points are entirely irrelevant.

Posted by: roberthenkel | February 5, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The same-sex marriage bill will not survive the congressional review. The powers that be do not want these perverted freaks of nature to corrupt the institute of marriage anymore than the vast majority of Americans do. Sorry to rain on your parade, homos.

Posted by: realist2 | February 5, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

So, if the DC Council decides to ban all automobiles to save the man-hole darters...and this can be found to "protect human rights," the citizens just have to s*ck it up. That, sir and madam, is NOT democracy; that is liberal led, do-gooder, totalitarian dictatorship and rule by proclamation from an arrogant, insufferable elite.

Posted by: wjc1va | February 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"Homos" "Freaks of Nature" and "Man-hole darters"

Ah yes, when logic fails, childish bullying and name calling takes over. Carry on haters, DC WILL pass gay-marriage. 20 years from now you'll be saying, "what was the big deal?" It won't affect you in the least, I promise. Chill.

Posted by: EqualityFirst | February 5, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

JuiceHim: Are you a resident of the District? I mean, as I posted earlier, some of you need a serious education. We do have the right to vote on issues here in DC. However, those issues have to be a PROPER SUBJECT that is not in violation of DC LAW. The BOEE and the Court are not being activists. They are simply following the DC Charter and DC Human Rights Act. I wish we could have a referendum banning all ignorant uneducated morons from the city. Wow, that could free up a lot of taxpayer dollars. Oh wait, You can't discriminate against stupid.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | February 5, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

For all these people who are using religion as a grounds for opposing same-sex marriage, I'd like to hear how they answer these questions:

1) Why is an institution that is supposedly religious -- and therefore not secular -- even being regulated by government? Don't we (at least nominally) have a constitution that prevents government from interfering in religious matters (and vice-versa)?
2) If you insist that marriage is a religious institution, then why is it that two atheists can get married and the marriage is still valid and binding?
3) How is a drunken frat boy getting married to a hooker in Las Vegas (likely in a haze of alcoholic stupor) a holy and blessed union? I mean, that's a legal and binding marriage ,while my committed and loving 20-year relationship is not: It must follow that God wants me to go to Vegas, get high out of my mind and marry some pole-dancer who makes her living giving lap-dances to dirty old men, right?

Don't send me hate messages, don't call me names, don't change the subject to socialism, Tea Parties or anything else; I just want to hear someone answer those questions.

Posted by: MaS103 | February 5, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The same-sex marriage bill will not survive the congressional review. The powers that be do not want these perverted freaks of nature to corrupt the institute of marriage anymore than the vast majority of Americans do. Sorry to rain on your parade, homos.

Posted by: realist2



The smart money is on the homos! ;)

Posted by: Freestinker | February 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.

Posted by: tjhall1 | February 5, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I commend Aimhigh2000 for keeping us on point regarding the law. Likewise, Councilmember Catania for his obvious scholar. It seems he and his able-bodied team have covered all their legal bases. The strategy over many years has been to craft an intricate web of convoluted laws leading to a day to hit their mark. All I can say is "Well done." Deligence and intention dismanled and recrafted every DC law that pertained to "marriage" Mainly,to disarm and take away our right to vote. We have been overcome by our obliviousness. Which is what the linguistically and scholarly inclined were counting on. Religion aside, who would have thought we could come to this place. Defending marriage between a male & female? I agree that things change, but come on folks. I can only imagine what else our elected officials have planned for our voting future. If this is a picture of what "voting rights" is going to look like maybe DC should remain as it is.

Posted by: gtownPete | February 6, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

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