A Tale of 2 Jurisdictions: California Voters Can Decide Marriage Law, But D.C. Cannot

While the District of Columbia just decided that allowing the people to vote, via ballot initiative, on same-sex marriage would violate the city’s Human Rights Act — because popular vote should not decide civil rights — the State of California finds itself fielding five just-approved ballot measures to reverse Proposition 8, the ballot measure that last year let voters strip away marriage rights in the state. (To be clear, activists say there will only be a signature drive for Love Honor Cherish’s ballot initiative.) If there’s ever been a more clear reason why federal marriage rights are necessary, it is this situation: Some Americans can have their neighbors vote on their marriage, while others cannot.