Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The Washington D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has made its understandings of the law clear — that somehow homosexual marriage is required by law.  You can read the whole document here.  The board finds its motivation in the modern feminist movement.  In evaluating two matters, the Jury and Marriage Amendment Act (JAMA) and the Human Rights Act (HRA), the board came to the conclusion that

While neither the HRA nor its legislative history explicitly mentions same-sex marriage, it is without question that the HRA must “be read broadly to eliminate the many proscribed forms of discrimination in the District.”40 Since JAMA’s enactment, the District recognizes same-sex marriages that have been properly entered into, performed, and recognized by other jurisdictions. This did not exist when Dean was decided. Consequently, couples who fall within JAMA’s purview are entitled to the same benefits of marriage that are afforded heterosexual married couples, and the denial of these benefits to married couples on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individuals who comprise the couples now constitutes a “proscribed form of discrimination.” It is clear that this result is the intent of the Council, which voted 12-1 to pass JAMA. The Initiative seeks to deny recognition to JAMA marriages on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individuals who comprise the couples. As a result, the Board finds, and both the District’s Attorney General and the General Counsel for the Council agree, that the Initiative authorizes or would authorize discrimination proscribed by the HRA and is therefore not a proper subject for initiative.

This is dangerous.  The D.C. board considers the disallowance of homosexual marriage recognition, in principle, to be a “proscribed form of discrimination” — and “proscribed” means dangerous and illegal.  The D.C. board has used specific terminology that declares the Christian view of marriage, that marriage must be between one man and one woman, and the practices of hiring and service, to be dangerous and illegal.

It doesn’t take long to go back and look at the government’s confrontation of Bob Jones University for its institutional racism.  The school was, in my understanding of the Word, practicing an immorality for which it deserved condemnation.  But the power of the federal government to intrude into religious organizations has been established, against Bob Jones and elsewhere, as the Left continues its assault on individual liberty.

And the board has let its intentions regarding any initiative to change this ruling:

IV. Conclusion Under current law, the District recognizes same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions. The proposed Initiative seeks to prohibit the District from continuing to recognize these same-sex marriages. The Initiative instructs that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the District of Columbia.” If passed, the Initiative would, in contravention of the HRA, strip same-sex couples of the rights and responsibilities of marriages currently recognized in the District.

The District’s Initiative, Referendum and Recall Procedures Act requires the Board to refuse to accept referenda and initiatives which violate the HRA. Because the Initiative would authorize discrimination prohibited by the HRA, it is not a proper subject for initiative, and may not be accepted by the Board.

The board’s appeal to the Human Rights Act leaves open a door for a new type of discrimination:  Where do religious charities that participate with the government stand when it comes to their hiring practices and where does the expression of the Chrisitan faith end and responsibility to the state end?  This Human Rights Act is Section 14, Title 2 of the D.C. code, and as later clarified:
To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That thisact may be cited as the “Human Rights Clarification Amendment Act of 2005”.

Sec. 2. The Human Rights Act of 1977, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38; D.C. Official Code § 2-1401.01 et seq.), is amended as follows:

(a) Section 101 (D.C. Official Code § 2-1401.01) is amended by striking the phrase“sexual orientation,” and inserting the phrase “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” in its place.

(b) Section 102 (D.C. Official Code § 2-1401.02) is amended by redesignating paragraph (12A) as (12A-1) and adding a new paragraph (12A) to read as follows:

“(12A) “Gender identity or expression” means a gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”.

And here, in the Mayor’s directive to end discrimination against homosexuals in the policies and procedures of government offices — and even further:
This order shall be applicable to all agencies under the direction and control of the Mayor. This Order governs unfirom language which shall be placed in any document that recites the District’s anti-discrimination policy. examples of such documents are: jobpostings, job applications, program brochures, equal opportunity notices and postings, general orders, departmental directives, special instructions, and meterials processed through the Administrative Inssuance Systems which recites the District’s anti-discrimination policy.

And here, from “reaffirmed by the elected Council under Home Rule in 1977 is stated in § 2-1401.01,” as quoted by Summersgill regarding the potential for a referrendum on homosexual marriage in the District of Columbia:
It is the intent of the Council of the District of Columbia, in enacting this chapter, to secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason other than that of individual merit, including, but not limited to, discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, and place of residence or business.

The foundation for homosexual marriage is found in laws which protect sexual expression, not just sexual identity.  The possibility that any religious organization might come under the Mayor’s directive gave good reason for the Roman Catholic reaction to the District’s position, but the District continues in its discrimination against orthodox Christian belief systems.

But is the district’s law even legal?  Sounds strange, but the question must be pursued.  Does the district’s denial of initiative and referrendum amont to an unconstitutional  limitation of the rights of the citizens of the district.  Could it be that the very definition of discrimination as used by the District is one which is politically motivated and of merely partisan convenience?  Should not the citizens be allowed — they are by the Constitution, though not by District leadership — to correct the error of the District?  They do, after all, regard us as dangerous.  This type of rhetoric is hardly tolerant.

More on: Culture

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles