WASHINGTON — Gay rights activists in the nation's capital probably don't like Utah much — because now both a Utah senator and a House member are leading efforts to overturn a new D.C. law allowing same-sex marriage.
Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, introduced legislation on Tuesday to allow D.C. residents to vote directly on the issue, which mirrors a bill introduced earlier by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
"The determination of marriage affects every person and should be debated openly, lawfully and democratically," Bennett said.
He complained that the unelected D.C. Board of Elections had ruled that a ballot initiative to define marriage as between a man and a woman would be unlawful discrimination under D.C. law, which the D.C. Superior Court also upheld.
"The board's decision to deny the people of Washington, D.C., a vote was incorrect and reminiscent of the judicial activism that has imposed gay marriage by fiat and stimulated such discord in other venues," Bennett said. "Congress should act to ensure that the question is settled by a democratic ballot initiative process."
Bennett's version of the bill was co-sponsored by eight other Senate Republicans, including Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
The D.C. Council passed in December a bill to allow gay marriage. However because D.C. is a federal district, Congress has a 30-session-day period during which it could choose to revoke that ordinance.
Chaffetz also has introduced legislation that would do just that but has said that he doubts that Democratic leadership in Congress will allow it to come to a vote. Chaffetz said he introduced his legislation because he is the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that oversees D.C. operations.
This story was reported from Salt Lake City.