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Foes Lose Ballot Initiative Battle in DC

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A Washington, D.C., judge ruled in favor of the city's Board of Elections and Ethics, which said it would not allow a ballot initiative on same-sex marriage.

The case was brought forth by a group of religious conservatives and 39 Congress members looking to reverse the D.C. city council's vote to legalize gay marriage in December.

The board's ruling that the initiative would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act was valid, Judge Judith Macaluso wrote in a decision released Thursday. Under D.C. law, ballot initiatives cannot authorize discrimination. The antigay petitioners argued that the district's 1979 human rights protections were, however, invalid.

"D.C. has the right to govern itself and make its own laws without the interference of thirty-nine Republican members of Congress, more interested in scoring cheap political points than in the everyday lives of D.C. residents," Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said in a statement. "As D.C. law justifiably recognizes, no initiative should be permitted to strip away any individual's civil rights. It is heartening that two different judges upheld the anti-discrimination protections wisely enacted by the Council more than 30 years ago."

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