Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has introduced legislation that would require the District to put same-sex marriage on the ballot before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as planned next month.
The proposed District of Columbia Referendum on Marriage Act, similar to legislation already introduced in the House by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would halt the implementation of the new city law.
The D.C. Council approved the legalization of same-sex unions in December, and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) signed the bill into law. Under Home Rule, there is a 30-day congressional review period. Without congressional intervention, the law will go into effect next month.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have tried several legal avenues to block the law. But the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has rejected the putting the issue on the ballot because it would violate District human rights law, and a judge has upheld the decision.
A news release by Bennett called the rulings by the judge and elections board "an activist interpretation" of the city law.
"The definition of marriage affects every person, and should be debated openly, lawfully, and democratically," Bennett said in the release. "The board's decision to deny the people of Washington, D.C. a vote was incorrect and reminiscent of the judicial activism that has imposed gay marriage by fiat and stimulated such discord in other venues. Congress should act to ensure that the question is settled by a democratic ballot initiative process."
-- Nikita Stewart