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GLAA opposes proposed anti-gay D.C. marriage initiative
|To:||Mayor Williams and D.C. Councilmembers|
|Sent:||Wednesday, November 10, 2004 4:14 PM|
|Subject:||Advisory on proposed D.C. "Marriage Protection Act" ballot initiative|
Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:
We want to alert you to an issue that has started to appear in the news, as you are likely to receive inquiries about it.
GLAA has learned that on October 4, a proposed D.C. ballot initiative titled "District of Columbia Marriage Protection Act" was submitted by a District resident named Lisa L. Greene, representing the DC Citizens for Marriage. The summary statement she submitted states that she proposed it "for the purpose of giving the electorate of the District of Columbia the opportunity to vote on defining and preserving marriage as a relationship that exists between one man and one woman only." She continues, "This resolution is important because each District of Columbia citizen has a right to vote on the issue of same sex marriage and whether or not it should be legal in the District. Citizens not judges should make this decision."
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics will hold a hearing on Thursday, November 18 on the proposed ballot initiative. The hearing will enable interested persons to present information that would show why such an initiative is or is not legally proper and can proceed to the collection of ballot petition signatures.
We in the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance believe it is wrong to subject the civil rights of any minority to the whim of the majority. We plan to testify at the November 18 hearing that the proposed initiative is improper. We are doing research into the relevant law on the subject in order to prepare our testimony.
Until our analysis is completed on this matter, we suggest pointing out to questioners that the Board of Elections and Ethics is following the lawful process for examining the proposed initiative. We also suggest asking people to imagine how they would feel if their own treasured rights were subjected to a plebiscite. Also, while we agree with Rep. John Lewis that "Marriage is a basic human right," we have stated that the time is not ripe for dealing with this issue in the District.
As no marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples here, and no legislation is being contemplated that would change this, a peremptory popular vote on the matter amounts to a solution without a problem.
We will share our detailed testimony with you once we have prepared it for the November 18 DCBOEE hearing.
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance