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As Catholics and Gays Battle Over Marriage Equality in DC, Elections Board Rejects Prop 8-Style Ballot Initative

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HRC Backstory reports: "Today, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics announced their ruling [pdf] that for a second time a proposed ballot measure that would undermine marriage equality in the District is not a proper subject for a referendum or initiative. The Board’s decision to prevent a measure like California’s Prop 8 or Maine’s Question 1 from possibly reaching the ballot is strongly supported by D.C. law, which wisely prohibits any initiative that authorizes discrimination or has the effect of authorizing discrimination under D.C.’s Human Rights Act."

Meanwhile I reported last Thursday that the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C. has told the D.C. Council that if they are forced to recognize same-sex married couples (as D.C.'s proposed marriage equality law would impel them to do) they will have no other choice but to discontinue all social service programs in D.C. related to adoption, homelessness, health care and other areas.

CNN reports on that threat, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. A good reporter, which Blitzer is not, would ask the good Father if it's OK for the Church to practice discrimination in violation of the law? He should also be asked if their ultimatum is a form of blackmail, where the Archdiocese is willing to put the lives of the poor and needy at risk or at least hold them hostage in an effort to bully the City Council to maintain second class status for gays and lesbians in the District. At least those are the questions I would have asked.

    Posted by: Tim | Nov 17, 2009 9:28:44 PM


  2. Catholic Church = black mailers.

    "Put real people at risk" - What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I think children are more at risk in the catholic church. Get the hell out of our government. Our tax dollars shouldn't go to bigoted churches to begin with!

    Posted by: KFLO | Nov 17, 2009 10:11:11 PM


  3. Since it's a core teaching of the Catholic church that married people not divorce and remarry, would they refuse social services to remarried straight couples? Just askin'

    Posted by: KevinChi | Nov 17, 2009 10:33:02 PM


  4. why isn't that DC law NATIONAL law? It seems to be working to prevent Prop 8s and Question 1s from being put on the ballot in the first place.

    and it goes without saying [from me] but i'll say it anyway: screw the Catholic Church in DC and screw the entire Catholic religion, starting with that preposterous pope in his Louis Vuitton (or Gucci) gold slippers and oh-so-kissable lily white toes. go feed the starving kids in this world and shut the fuck up about everything else.

    Posted by: casey | Nov 17, 2009 10:47:49 PM


  5. The idea the Catholic church actually provides a large percentage of the services in question here is ridiculous. I'd love to know what % it really is and how many adoptions they really do in DC?

    Posted by: Caleb | Nov 17, 2009 10:56:20 PM


  6. Believe me, you wouldn't want DC's laws.

    While it is true that there are protections against frivolous referendums, Nancy Pelosi essentially gets a veto in her capacity as Speaker of the House. Though it is unlikely she'll exercise it in this case, it is absurd that a congresswoman from California should have such power over the affairs of people living thousands of miles away from her own home.

    Posted by: John | Nov 17, 2009 11:34:50 PM


  7. How do these referendums get on the state ballots in the first place? It's insane. This should be declared unconstitutional from the US Supreme Court.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 17, 2009 11:49:49 PM


  8. How do these referendums get on the state ballots in the first place?

    Most of the states that allow voter initiated referendums only require that you collect the signatures of 8% or 10% of the voters who participated in the last election. If you're collecting signatures for 2010, the "last election" is the 2009 off-year election. If you're collecting signatures for 2012, the "last election" is the 2011 off-year election. This makes it ridiculously easy for practically any special interest group, including Christian organizations, to get their pet project on the ballot.

    Posted by: John | Nov 18, 2009 12:11:32 AM


  9. aren't catholic organizations required not to discriminate in canada as well?

    qequality4@aol.com

    Posted by: rick | Nov 18, 2009 2:12:42 AM


  10. CU president's threat: "don't blame us if we have to stop helping those who are sufffering the most"

    the hypocrisy never ends

    Posted by: rick | Nov 18, 2009 2:22:43 AM


  11. The greater threat to the well being and safety of children is organized religion and especially the Catholic crazies! Tax them all back to hell!

    Posted by: major707 | Nov 18, 2009 3:13:37 AM


  12. the washington post did a story on this. the percentage, to answer the question above, that the catholic church provides in social services like adoption is actually very small, and someone said something like it's not like it's a huge percentage. it's small.

    Posted by: Randy | Nov 18, 2009 4:27:19 AM


  13. That is the first I have heard of the Catholic church being unable to afford something. Melt the gold walls of the Vatican and use that to feed the poor, you know like the Bible says to do.

    Posted by: Jake | Nov 18, 2009 6:59:43 AM


  14. More and more the catholic church proves itself to be a blackmailing, mean and downright bigoted organization. No respect or support for them from me. THEY are the ones putting people at risk and gloating about it because they feel they have the power to blackmail people into discriminating against us? Hypocrites!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Nov 18, 2009 7:04:29 AM


  15. aw come on, guys! They are just trying to "help real people," -- you know orphans, homeless -- themselves -- NOT people like us!

    CNN's fair and balanced coverage consisted of Mr. Blitzer interviewing a representative of the Catholic view (because it IS universal, I suppose) and did not have a representative of the gay community comment.

    ARRGGHHH!

    Posted by: freestatebruce | Nov 18, 2009 8:30:25 AM


  16. The Washington Post article from 11/12/09 stated the Catholic Church was only involved in six of the 102 adoptions last year. Not enough to make a difference in my mind. I'm sure the District could find other organizations willing to take the city's money to provide the services the Catholic Church USED TO. Equality for ALL!

    Posted by: Vince | Nov 18, 2009 8:37:10 AM


  17. So if i understand the above report, Catholic Charities DC receives $ 25 Mil from DC alone and that represents 50% of their overall annual Budget? Sounds like more of survivability here cut out 1/2 a budget you have to close!! It's either stop discriminating or quit taking public funds!!

    Posted by: AlexInBoston | Nov 18, 2009 9:19:00 AM


  18. Didn't England just go through exactly this same issue? I seem to remember they held firm and made the church follow the law. Why don't American law makers have the balls the English ones have?

    Posted by: MT | Nov 18, 2009 10:18:07 AM


  19. DC is a ridiculous place. I live in northern Virginia precisely because DC laws are so fucked up. The gun laws are prohibitive, I don't need jury duty every 6 months and their DMV is the ninth circle of hell.

    The guy on the right is hot. Clearly he's the one who wants to have children and that is very cool.

    Fuck you Father David O'Connell. Fuck the Catholic Church, whore of Babylon. The Catholic Church is the source of all evil.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 18, 2009 10:24:39 AM


  20. In DC there's even a law against pimp-tint on car windows!

    Fuck that and fuck DC.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 18, 2009 10:25:35 AM


  21. You guys want separation of Church and state, well, it works both ways. You want freedom from religion? Well, they get freedom of religion.

    Is it sad? Yes, it is. As someone who works with clients who receive Catholic Charities services in PA, I'd hate to lose it as a charitable organization even if I don't support their politics. But...

    Some Catholic Charities organizations choose to take the money and not discriminate. It has happened, and will continue to happen. It's a shame THAT fact wasn't brought up, because clearly the individual organizations have a certain autonomy to choose.

    Posted by: DR | Nov 18, 2009 12:21:45 PM


  22. Opps, just lost half of their budget, which will now go to another organization which doesn't discriminate. Discrimination has a price. Good for DC.

    Posted by: kansastock | Nov 18, 2009 12:39:38 PM


  23. "You guys want separation of Church and state, well, it works both ways. You want freedom from religion? Well, they get freedom of religion."

    They have freedom of religion. If they want to use their private money, they can do as they like. If they use public money and are in the public sector, they have to play by public rules--including following non-discrimination laws. As you say, it's their choice to make, but no one is infringing on their rights here.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 18, 2009 7:58:15 PM


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