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Posted at 01:43 PM ET, 08/31/2009

Bishop Continues Fight Against Same-Sex Marriages in D.C.

Bishop Harry Jackson is refusing to relent from his campaign to stop same-sex marriage in the District, despite the drubbing he took before the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics this summer.

Jackson sent out a statement Monday stating that he and other opponents of same-sex marriages will file an initiative request with the elections board Tuesday.

If approved by the board, the initiative will give District residents an opportunity to vote sometime next year on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. Jackson, who believes that most city voters oppose same-sex marriage, is hoping his proposal will slow efforts in the D.C. Council to legalize those marriages.

Sometime this fall, council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) is expected to file a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the District. Gay couples married in other states can already have their marriages recognized in the District.

"The D.C. City Council has stated that their intention is to redefine marriage by going beyond recognizing homosexual marriage to allow them to be performed in the District of Columbia," Jackson's statement said. "This redefinition of marriage will permanently impact D.C. businesses, education, and the family unit without the voice of the residents being heard."

Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, has become the leading critic of efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. But he's fighting what many consider to be a losing battle.

In May, Jackson filed a request with the elections board to hold a referendum to block the council bill allowing same-sex marriages performed in others states to be legally recognized.

But the elections board, in a strongly worded ruling, blocked Jackson's referendum request. The two-member board cited D.C. elections law, which prohibits a vote on a matter covered by the Human Rights Act. The 1977 act outlaws discrimination against gays and lesbians and other minority groups.

Many observers say Jackson will face an uphill battle in convincing the board that its previous ruling should not also apply to the latest proposed initiative.
-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:43 PM ET, 08/31/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig | Tags:  bishop harry jackson, same-sex marriage

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