Utah lawmaker wants to force gay marriage vote in D.C.


LGBTQ Nation

A House republican, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) says he plans to introduce a bill granting District of Columbia residents the right to vote on gay marriage.

The D.C. Council passed a bill on December 15 to legalize gay marriage in the district. The measure, approved by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fentry just days later, has not yet gone into effect.

Back in November, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled that the effort to place an initiative on the ballot, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, could not go forward, reaffirming an earlier ruling that such a vote would be discriminatory.

The elections board said allowing residents to vote on a ban would conflict with the city’s 1977 Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination.

Chaffetz (pictured) says his federal bill would supersede any board ruling.

Because the city is a federal district, Congress hass final say over D.C.’s laws. The measure must pass a 30-day period of Congressional review, in which Congress could reject it, but Democratic leaders have suggested they are reluctant to do so.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., and leader of a coalition of social conservative and Christian groups opposed to same-sex marriage, filed suit in D.C. Superior Court in November to reverse the elections board’s decision and place a measure on the ballot. The court has not yet ruled in that case.

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