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Voting Representation for People in the District of Columbia

The District of Columbia was established on the first Monday in December, 1800, by an Act of Congress as a seat for the national government under authority granted to the Congress by Article 1, Section 8, of the US Constitution, under which the Congress has the power to "exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District." At no time since has the federal legislature passed any provision for voting representation for the residents of the District of Columbia. Yet, throughout our nation's history, citizens of the District of Columbia have given their undivided allegiance to the United States: fighting and dying in wars, paying their full measure of taxes, and providing labor and resources to the federal government.

Therefore, because we recognize:

that governments derive their "just powers from the consent of the governed" in order to secure the people's rights "endowed by their Creator";

the Social Principles contained in The United Methodist Book of Discipline state that the "form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens";

the Social Principles also state that "the strength of a political system depends on the full and willing participation of its citizens" (¶ 164B);

it has been the enduring tradition and history of the Methodist movement, from the time of Wesley to the present day, to support the rights of the individual, to provide relief to the disenfranchised, and to champion the equality of all persons before God and before the law; and

throughout the biblical narrative God desires the inclusion and full participation of all people into society;

The United Methodist Church agrees that the continuing disenfranchisement of the citizens of the District of Columbia is an egregious moral wrong that must be rectified.

Therefore, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church declares its full support, on moral grounds that citizens of the District of Columbia are entitled to political rights equal to those of other United States citizens, including voting representation in both houses of Congress. We call on the President and the Congress of the United States of America to take action to provide congressional representation to the citizens of Washington, DC.

We call on all United Methodist congregations throughout the United States to support the people of the District of Columbia in this cause by calling upon their elected representatives in Congress to demand democratic rights for the District of Columbia.

ADOPTED 1980
REVISED AND ADOPTED 2000
REVISED AND READOPTED 2008
RESOLUTION #5088, 2008 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #280, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #262, 2000 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS

See Social Principles, ¶ 164B.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012. Copyright © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

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