Judge Says Public Vote on D.C. Gay “Marriage” Law Would Violate Human Rights Act

A Washington D.C. judge has ruled that a ballot initiative against the recently approved same-sex “marriage” law would violate the District’s Human Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Stand 4 Marriage DC, a coalition of the federal district’s religious leaders led by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church had appealed for the right to put gay  “marriage” before the residents of D.C. for a vote after having been denied this prerogative by both the D.C. Ethics Board and D.C. Superior Court.

In June 2009, the capital district’s Board of Elections and Ethics ruled that a referendum vote would violate the human rights of homosexuals protected by the D.C. charter, saying that it “concludes that the Referendum does not present a proper subject of referendum because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act.”

In July, D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin dismissed the motion for an injunction on the same-sex “marriage” amendment, the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009 (JMA), filed by the Stand 4 Marriage D.C. coalition, saying that putting the JMA up to a popular vote did not constitute a “proper subject” for a referendum.

Yesterday, Judge Judith Macaluso of D.C. Superior Court said that the city council can prevent a referendum from going forward.

“The fact that the proposed initiative, if passed, would violate the Human Rights Act provides an independent basis for upholding the Board’s decision: the initiative runs afoul of an implied exclusion barring provisions that violates the state’s law,” she ruled.

Moreover, referring to the 1995 case of Dean v. the District of Columbia, where the D.C. Court of Appeals decided that the city’s Human Rights Act did not protect same-sex “marriages,” Judge Macaluso said, “Since 1995, the (Washington City Council) has changed the landscape Dean surveyed. Indeed, all of the statutory provisions upon which Dean relied have been repealed or amended.”

In 1995 the Court of Appeals stated that, “We cannot conclude that the council ever intended to change the ordinary meaning of the word ‘marriage’ simply by enacting the Human Rights Act.”

Though most US states have human rights laws similar to Washington’s, all 31 states where homosexual “marriage” has been put before voters in a referendum have upheld the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man to one woman.

Opponents of homosexual “marriage” say they will appeal Judge Macaluso’s decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

“Had gay-marriage opponents been able to hold a Prop. 8-style referendum (the successful California vote against same-sex ‘marriage’) in D.C., Washington would likely have followed the national trend and banned same-sex marriage,” said Brian Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage.

The full text of the D.C. Superior Court ruling is available here.

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