Opponents of same-sex marriage filed a petition in Washington, DC yesterday requesting a ballot initiative that would define marriage as only between men and women. The proposed initiative states that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia.” The initiative request is filed as members of the DC City Council are working to legalize same sex marriage in the District.
According to the Washington Post, the DC Board of Elections and Ethics must decide whether the initiative request is valid because ballot measures that violate the city’s Human Rights Act are illegal in DC. The Act protects gay and lesbian people as well as a number of minority groups from discrimination.
The District of Columbia officially began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states in July. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics rejected a proposed referendum in June that would have allowed D.C. residents to vote on the bill that authorized recognition of out-of-state marriages. The board’s ruling (see PDF), found that the proposed referendum “would authorize discrimination prohibited by the DC Human Rights Act” and would “strip same-sex couples of the rights and responsibilities of marriage that they were afforded by virtue of entering into valid marriages elsewhere.” The DC Superior Court upheld the Board of Elections and Ethics’ decision on June 30.