WASHINGTON — Alliance Defense Fund and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys have appealed an opinion and order issued by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics last week that denied the district’s voters the right to vote on a marriage redefinition law passed by the D.C. Council. In addition to the appeal, ADF attorneys filed a motion Friday to keep the proposed law from going into effect in March.
“The people of D.C. do not deserve to have a new definition of marriage imposed upon them without their consent,” said ADF Legal Counsel Timothy J. Tracey. “We will continue to fight for the people’s right to vote on this referendum and participate in a legitimate democratic process in the district.”
Bishop Harry Jackson and seven other D.C. registered voters filed a referendum on Jan. 6 with the Board of Elections to give district voters the opportunity to vote on the law. On Thursday, the board rejected the proposed referendum on the basis that the measure would have the effect of authorizing “discrimination” in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977. However, ADF attorneys point out that the D.C. Charter, which serves as a constitution for the district, guarantees citizens the right to vote on any act passed by the D.C. Council unless it is an emergency act, an act levying taxes, or an act appropriating funds to the general operations budget.
On Dec. 15, 2009, the D.C. Council voted 11-2 for final approval of Bill 18-0482, which was signed two days later as the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009” by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. It is undergoing review by Congress and will become law on March 2 unless Congress disapproves it or the court grants the motion to stop it from going into effect.
The appeal and motion for preliminary injunction in Jackson v. District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics was filed with the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
In a separate lawsuit with the same name, ADF and Stand4MarriageDC attorneys appealed a court decision that allowed the Board of Elections to deprive district voters from having a say on the proposed Marriage Initiative of 2009, which would amend D.C. law to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the district.
Stand4MarriageDC.com attorney Cleta Mitchell is serving as co-counsel in both lawsuits. Stand4MarriageDC is the official proponent of the Marriage Initiative of 2009 and the referendum on the marriage redefinition law.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.