By Peter J. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-family advocates have filed an appeal against the decision of the District of Columbia’s Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) to deny voters in the U.S. capital the right to vote up or down on a law passed by the D.C. Council, which extends the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and Stand4MarriageDC appealed to the D.C. Superior Court, which previously upheld the BOEE’s decision to reject a pro-family marriage initiative banning same-sex “marriage.” ADF attorneys also filed an additional motion last Friday to prevent the law from going into effect March 2.
“The people of D.C. do not deserve to have a new definition of marriage imposed upon them without their consent,” said ADF Legal Counsel Timothy J. Tracey. “We will continue to fight for the people’s right to vote on this referendum and participate in a legitimate democratic process in the district.”
D.C. Council members passed the "Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009" on December 15, by an 11-2 margin, legalizing same-sex “marriage.” The measure was thereafter signed into law on December 18 by Mayor Adrian Fenty, and without any intervention from Congress, will go into effect March 2.
On January 6, Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church and seven other D.C. registered voters filed a referendum with the BOEE that would give district voters the opportunity to vote on the new same-sex “marriage” law.
However, last Thursday the board rejected the proposed referendum, alleging that the measure would constitute “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation – a violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act (HRA) of 1977.
In the lawsuit, ADF attorneys contend that the D.C. Charter, the national district’s constitution, in fact guarantees D.C. citizens the right to vote on any act – in conformity with the U.S. Constitution and all acts of Congress – passed by the D.C. Council, “except for an emergency act, an act levying taxes, or an act appropriating funds to the general operations budget.”
Both the appeal and the motion in Jackson v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics were filed with the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
However if past is prologue, the matter is likely to make its way to the D.C. Court of Appeals. Back in July 2009, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin torpedoed a similar referendum on the D.C. Council’s first attempt to legalize same-sex “marriage” with the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009 (JMA). Retchin agreed with the BOEE then, that putting the JMA up to a popular vote did not constitute a "proper subject" for a referendum, because it would violate the HRA’s ban on “discrimination” based on sexual orientation.
In a separate lawsuit, also known as Jackson v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith Macaluso used the same jurisprudence to strike down the Stand4MarriageDC coalition’s bid to place the issue of same-sex “marriage” before D.C. voters with a ballot initiative. Macaluso ruled against the Marriage Initiative of 2009 declaring, “The fact that the proposed initiative, if passed, would violate the Human Rights Act provides an independent basis for upholding the Board’s decision.”
ADF and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys have appealed Macaluso’s decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals, arguing that voters should have the right to enshrine the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in D.C. law.
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Judge Says Public Vote on D.C. Gay “Marriage” Law Would Violate Human Rights Act
D.C. Council Casts Final Vote to Legalize Same-Sex "Marriage"
Lawmakers Refuse to Address D.C. Archdiocese's Concerns Regarding Same-Sex "Marriage" Law
Judge Puts Kibosh on DC Gay "Marriage" Referendum