Republicans in Congress aid effort to kill same-sex marriage law in D.C.

Friday, January 8, 2010

WHEN IT COMES to District voters having a say in their governance, congressional Republicans are a curious lot. They -- with a major assist from weak-willed Democrats -- refuse to give voters a voice in the House of Representatives. Yet 37 Republicans from the House and two from the Senate have risen in righteous indignation to defend the people's right to vote on same-sex marriage. Pardon us while we roll our eyes at such flagrant grandstanding.

Both Sens. James M. Inhofe (Okla.) and Roger F. Wicker (Miss.) last year and 31 of the House Republicans in 2007 voted against D.C. voting rights.

Before the District's law legalizing same-sex marriage can take effect, it must survive a 30-legislative-day congressional review. The clock starts ticking next week. With the Democrats in control of both houses and keenly uninterested in meddling in this bit of local governance, we and other proponents of the measure are optimistic that the measure will officially become law. Apparently the Gang of 39 shares this assessment. So it's trying a different tack: intervening in a lawsuit that is trying to force a public vote on the law. Such a move, which was proposed by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church, was blocked by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

The board ruled that D.C. law doesn't permit ballot measures that would have the result of promoting discrimination.

The Republicans argue that the District overstepped the authority granted it by Congress and trampled on their rights as members of "the District's ultimate legislative body." Give us a break. Same-sex marriage rights for citizens of the District were granted not by a court but by the duly elected representatives of the people. That's the way it's supposed to work. But if that's not enough democracy for the Gang of 39, let it give District voters a representative to vote on taxes that District residents pay and wars that District residents fight. Then come back and talk to us about referendums.

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