Monday, November 30, 2009

DCBOEE Followed the Law Regarding the “Marriage Initiative of 2009”

On November 17, the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) issued its decision that the “Marriage Initiative of 2009” is “not a proper subject of initiative because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act (‘HRA’).”

The DCBOEE’s memorandum opinion and order states that “[u]nder current law, the District recognizes same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions. The proposed Initiative seeks to prohibit the District from continuing to recognize these same-sex marriages. The Initiative instructs that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia.’ If passed, the Initiative would, in contravention of the HRA, strip same-sex marriage couples of the rights and responsibilities of marriages currently recognized in the District.

“The District’s Initiative, Referendum and Recall Procedures Act requires the Board to refuse to accept referenda and initiatives which violate the HRA. Because the Initiative would authorize discrimination prohibited by the HRA, it is not a proper subject for initiative, and may not be accepted by the Board.

“ORDERED that the Initiative is RECEIVED BUT NOT ACCEPTED pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 1-1001.16(b)(2).”

The law is what it is.

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