Lawsuit filed to overturn decision barring D.C. same-sex ‘marriage’ referendum

Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church
Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church


A Washington, D.C. election board’s rejection of a voter referendum on its decision to recognize same-sex “marriages” contracted in other jurisdictions has been challenged in a lawsuit.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics had ruled the referendum would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977.

A lawsuit filed by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) on behalf of Bishop Harry R. Jackson and other D.C. voters challenged the board’s ruling, noting that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals 15 years ago ruled that maintaining the recognition of marriage as between a man and a woman does not violate the act.

“Marriage didn’t violate the Human Rights Act when the HRA passed 32 years ago, and it doesn’t now. That is simply a political argument meant to prevent the people from voting,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Brian Raum said in a statement. 

“If the referendum violates the HRA, then the marriage statutes that have been on the books since D.C. was formed also violate the HRA, and that is absurd,” Raum stated.

“Marriage pre-existed the Human Rights Act by centuries in the district. They have co-existed for a generation without conflict,” he continued. “The HRA has never required the redefinition of marriage or the recognition of non-marriages. Opponents of the referendum have twisted a law to impose their agenda without the people’s consent.”

Bishop Harry Jackson and other D.C. voters filed a May 27 request to hold a citywide referendum to give voters the opportunity to vote on the city council’s 12-1 decision of May 5 to recognize same-sex “marriages” from other jurisdictions.

The lawsuit argues that blocking the referendum would block the right of people to self-governance.