Anti-gay coalition will appeal Board of Elections decision
Stand 4 Marriage D.C. Coalition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2009
Contact: Hayley McConnell
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
(800)536-5920 or (703)739-5920
Coalition to File Court Appeal of Board of Elections Same-Sex Marriage Referendum Decision
Decision Denies Voters their Constitutional Rights
Washington, DC – A coalition of faith-based and community groups and prominent community leaders today said they would immediately appeal the decision of the District of Columbia Board of Elections to block a voter referendum of a law recently passed by the City Council allowing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere to be recognized as valid marriages in the District of Columbia.
“The decision of the Board of Elections is an insult to every voter in the District of Columbia and cannot be allowed to stand,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church and Chairman of the Stand4MarriageDC Coalition. “For years, our political leadership has correctly demanded that the District’s votes be counted in national elections, yet now these same politicians have acted to deny voters the right that thirty other states in America have already exercised – the right to vote on whether gay marriage should be legalized. No bureaucrat should silence the voters of this great city.”
The Board of Elections has refused to allow a referendum to overturn the action of the council, claiming that giving voters the right to decide this issue would constitute discrimination in violation of the District’s Human Rights Act. “This is an absurd judgment,” said Bishop Jackson. “If a referendum on gay marriage violates the Human Rights Act, the Board might as well have decided that the District’s marriage laws are also illegal. But there is nothing discriminatory about marriage. The law has always recognized that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is the law in 44 states and at the federal level. The DC Court of Appeals has already ruled that marriage is not discriminatory under the District’s Human Rights Act and we are confident that they will order the Board of Elections to let this referendum proceed.
In May, the City Council passed the “Jury and Marriage Amendment Act of 2009” which provides that homosexual marriages performed elsewhere will be recognized as marriage in the District of Columbia. The referendum was filed by civil rights leader and former Congressman Rev. Walter Fauntroy, Patricia Johnson, Associate Dean of a DC college, Rev. Dale Wafer, Rev. Derek McCoy and Bishop Jackson.
“The real human rights issue at stake in this decision is whether the people of DC will be given their right to vote,” Bishop Jackson said. “We are not going to sit still for allowing an unelected board of bureaucrats to deny voters their rightful say on this issue and, by their action, allow the institution of marriage to be radically redefined. We will appeal this decision immediately.”
For more information about the coalition or to schedule an interview with one of its members, please contact Hayley McConnell at Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703)739-5920.
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