Did the Board of Elections and Ethics kill the gay marriage debate in DC by ruling against “The Referendum Concerning the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act?” Hardly. It codified DC’s position on defining marriage and headed off the marriage-opponents’ major strategy, but it didn’t come near to ending the debate. After unpacking the Board’s reasoning and looking at where the ruling leaves both sides, the battle lines are still in basically the same place. No legal answer was given as to whether or not DC will be the next area to legalize gay marriage.
I realize that in saying this, I appear to be back-pedaling. In my my previous post on this subject, I said that a referendum was the best shot that marriage opponents had at having their way. In saying that, I was not referring to what ended up before the board. At the time, it appeared the the referendum would be a comprehensive, Prop 8 type piece of legislation. Instead, the referendum proffered was designed to prevent the city from recognizing legal, same sex marriages performed in other states and countries.