The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled Tuesday that a proposed ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and a woman cannot go forward, reaffirming an earlier ruling that such a vote would be discriminatory, reports the Washington Post.
The elections board said allowing residents to vote on a ban would conflict with the city’s 1977 Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination.
The board decision, which will probably be challenged in court, means the D.C. Council can move forward with its plans to vote on a bill next month to legalize same-sex marriage. The council on Tuesday scheduled a vote for Dec. 1.
The ruling, which comes less than two weeks after voters in Maine overturned that state’s same-sex marriage law, sets the District apart from many other jurisdictions in the national debate over same-sex marriage.
Voters in 31 states have rejected same-sex marriage. But the D.C. code states that a public vote cannot be held on a matter that would lead to discrimination against a minority group.
Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill, said the board ruling shows that the city’s Human Rights Act is “one of the most comprehensive statements on equality in the world.”
Full story at The Washington Post.