The DC Court of Appeals, in a 5-4 verdict (available in PDF), upheld the District’s rejection of a referendum on gay marriage. At stake was the choice of the Board of Elections and Ethics to reject the petitions from Harry Jackson and others to require that gay marriage be put to a vote of the citizens of the District. The BOEE argued, successfully, that to put this on the ballot would be to potentially authorize discrimination in violation of the Human Rights Act. Associate Judge Thompson, writing for the majority, said “we therefore affirm the Superior Court’s rulings that the Council acted lawfully in imposing the Human Rights Act safeguard and that the Board correctly determined that the safeguard required it to reject the proposed initiative.”
Most interesting in the 84-page verdict was the item upon which all nine judges agreed: “the Board correctly determined that the proposed initiative would have the effect of authorizing such discrimination.” While the dissenting judges disagreed regarding the authorities involved in the case, they did accept that a voted prohibition against gay marriage was a wholesale violation of the Human Rights Act. Let that sink in a minute. We’ll have some more detail and reaction later today.