John Shields

Breaking News: The Legality of a Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage in D.C.

Filed By John Shields | June 11, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, Politics

This just in from informed sources regarding the legality of a voter referendum to suspend what is called "The Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009."

The Act, approved by the D.C. City Council, recognizes as "valid any marriage legally entered into another jurisdiction between two persons of the same sex." The measure passed by a nearly unanimous city council vote, and Mayor Fenty signed it.

Opponents of gay marriage then introduced what is called "The Referendum Concerning the Jury and Amendment Act of 2009," asking residents of the District of Columbia to decide whether our nation's capital "will recognize as valid a marriage legally entered in another jurisdiction between 2 persons of the same sex."

More after the jump...

According to sources, the attorney general of the District of Columbia will soon issue his "statement" on the validity of the proposed measure to negate the city's actions to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere.

And he's going to say NO. It's going to go something like this: the proposed voter-referendum, under District law, negates the Human Rights Act for the District of Columbia. And the proposed petition should be denied.

His conclusion:

As expressed in the HRA, the established public policy of the District of Columbia is to treat individuals as equals, whatever their gender, sexual orientation, or marital status may be. The Council reflected that policy in section 3(b) of the Amendment Act, in a manner consistent with well-recognized principles of comity. The effect of the proposed Referendum, however, would be to negate that action. Therefore, the proposed measure is not a proper subject for a referendum under District law, and the proposer's petition should be denied.

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This is definitely good news!