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Marriage Referendum Denied in DC’s Superior Court

The DC Superior Court rejected a proposed referendum yesterday that aimed to overturn recent legislation in the District that would recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a statement, “The court’s ruling today is an important victory for fairness, the rule of law and the protection of all D.C. residents against discrimination, As DC law justifiably recognizes, no referendum should be permitted to strip away any individual’s civil rights.”

DC City Council members passed legislation in May that enabled the District to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. Councilmember David Catania (I) has said he will introduce a same sex marriage bill this year.

The DC Board of Elections and Ethics rejected the same proposal for a referendum in June. The board’s ruling (see PDF), found that the proposed referendum “would authorize discrimination prohibited by the 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.”

Sources:

Feminist Daily Newswire 5/6/09, 6/17/09; DC Board of Elections and Ethics 6/15/09; Human Rights Campaign 6/30/09