Oral Arguments on DC Marriage Case

DC Citizens Denied Right to Vote on Marriage Definition
"It Would Be Discriminatory to Permit a Vote"


WASHINGTON, DC, May 3, 2010 -- Tomorrow morning, May 4, the DC Court of Appeals, the highest court in Washington, DC will hear an appeal for the rights of citizens in our nation’s capital to vote on the definition of marriage. When a citizens group, Stand4MarriageDC, led by Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr, submitted a petition to define marriage through the initiative process, the District’s Board of Elections ruled that it was discriminatory under the Human Rights Act to even let people vote on the definition of marriage. In the interim, the City Council redefined marriage clearing the way for same-sex "marriages" effective March 3, 2010.

A January 28 Washington Post poll showed that 59 percent of adult D.C. residents believe voters should be allowed to vote “yes” or “no” on the definition of marriage in the district.

Not only was marriage redefined without a vote of the people, the measure was enacted in a way that forced Catholic Charities to give up providing services to children in need of foster care or adoptive parents, and to change marital benefits offered to its employees (see background story, http://ccgaction.org/node/773).

“In America, we respect the right to vote. The citizens of the District of Columbia should not have their voices suppressed by the government, but that is exactly what is happening here,” said Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “Our clients believe that, at this time in history, we should be focused on strengthening marriage, not completely changing it forever. The proponents of this initiative have an absolute right to present that view to the voters of the district for them to decide.”

Please Pray

Please pray for the lawyers and the judges in this case and the rights of Washington’s citizens to restore the definition of traditional marriage as they have done in California and Maine. People have voted in favor of traditional marriage every time and every where they have been permitted to vote.

As a consequence of redefining marriage, Catholic Charities was forced to give up providing services to children in need of foster care or adoptive parents, and was forced to change marital benefits offered to its employees (see background story, http://ccgaction.org/node/773).

ADF and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys representing initiative proponents filed a lawsuit with the D.C. Superior Court contesting that decision immediately after the decision of the Board of Elections. The suit contends that the D.C. Charter, which serves as a constitution for the district, guarantees citizens the right to initiate and vote on any legislation except for “laws appropriating funds.” It is undisputed that the Marriage Initiative of 2009 does not seek to appropriate funds. Nevertheless, the court refused to reverse the decision of the D.C. Board of Elections, prompting the current appeal.

In March, the proponents of the marriage initiative sought a stay of the implementation of new same-sex "marriage" law. It was denied by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, but he noted that the plaintiffs would have an opportunity for a full hearing before this court on the merits of their argument, which he acknowledged "has some force."



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