Marriage Proposal

Amendment Re-filed in D.C.

by Will O'Bryan
Published on August 3, 2006, 12:00am | Comments

In a majority Democrat city, where the hottest political race is who will win that party's mayoral nomination Sept. 12, one might think that that ''social values'' issues would be obsolete. Let the ''red states'' fight about school prayer and flag burning.

But D.C. Republican Lisa L. Greene has returned with her D.C. Marriage Amendment. Greene first proposed a ballot measure to prohibit same-sex marriage -- already not permitted -- in the district in 2004. She withdrew the proposal due to a technical concern with the wording of her draft. There can be no confusion, however, when it comes to the new, revised proposal. It reads, in full: ''The District of Columbia defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman only.''

Cornelius Baker, former head of Whitman-Walker Clinic, help found the Foundation for All D.C. Families about a year ago, in order to counter an encore filing by Greene or anyone else attempting to introduce such a measure in the district. Today, he serves as the organization's chair. And as of Monday's filing, he says his organization -- quietly polling residents and doing research behind the scenes -- needs to come out swinging.

''We didn't want to be surprised again, and we're not,'' Baker says of this new filing. ''The good thing is they filed very late. It's unlikely to be on this Nov. 7 ballot. But they could have two years to raise money and campaign.''

After filing, the next step for any proposed ballot measure is scrutiny by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Should the DCBOEE determine that the language of the proposal is sound, a 10-day challenge period is set, allowing registered voters a chance to object to the language of the proposal. From there, it's on to petitioning -- about 20,000 signatures.

Despite all these steps, Baker says it's fairly certain that D.C. voters will eventually see this measure on the ballot -- even if later, rather than sooner.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An unconfirmed message late Tuesday from Greene advised that she will be withdrawing the D.C. Marriage Amendment. As of Metro Weekly deadline, Aug. 3, Bill O'Field of the DCBOEE said his office has been advised of the intent to withdrawal, but has not yet received an official withdrawal form to that effect.

The Foundation for All D.C. families may be contacted by e-mail at dcfamilies@hotmail.com, or by calling 202-489-7490.