Metro Weekly

Referendum Rejected

DC Board of Elections and Ethics finds anti-marriage referendum improper

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) has rejected a proposed referendum that would subject the District’s move to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions to a citywide vote.

According to a statement posted on the DCBOEE’s Web site on Monday, June 15, ”the Board now concludes that the Referendum does not present a proper subject of referendum because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act.”

On Wednesday, June 10, the DCBOEE heard from Bishop Harry Jackson, the senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., who filed the proposed referendum, along with his supporters and opponents, who offered community comment for the board’s consideration on whether the proposed referendum violated any of eight grounds for rejection. One such disqualifier would be to ”would unlawfully discriminate under the [District’s] Human Rights Act,” which forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The DCBOEE announced that by its 5 p.m., June 11, deadline for testimony, 75 parties had offered comment of some sort on the matter, adding that all testimony had been considered before the proposed referendum was rejected.