Posts tagged: gay marriage
Conservative religious groups are preparing a voter referendum to overturn a bill granting same-sex partners most of the rights and responsibilities of spouses.
Senate Bill 5688 passed the legislature yesterday and is headed to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is expected to sign it into law.
Proponents say it’s a simple matter of fairness, that same-sex couples and their children deserve the same sort of protections and rights that married couples have. Opponents argue that the bill, after a trip through court, will lead to same-sex marriage.
This afternoon, Faith & Freedom’s Gary Randall emailed a note to supporters:
While the lawmakers were voting in favor of homosexual marriage in the Capitol, I and several other leaders in the faith community were meeting a few blocks away, finalizing details before filing a referendum to overturn this legislation.
…Their next step will be an easy one them. Litigate, correctly claiming there is no legal difference, then claim discrimination and it’s a done deal.
They will have successfully done an end-run on the State Supreme Court ruling which upheld DOMA and will have dismantled the Defense of Marriage Act.
If same-sex marriage becomes reality in Washington (as it has in four other states), he argues, Washington “will become a national attraction for homosexuals” from other states and countries.
More from the e-mail:
We know we will be outspent probably 6 to 1 or more on this referendum campaign, however we are equally confident, people of faith and conservatives will do all they can do to help us.
Proponents of the bill have repeatedly said they expect a referendum, and are prepared to take the debate to the public.
Rather than try to shoehorn my lengthy print story into a blog post, here are some quotes from yesterday’s standing-room-only hearings on the “everything but marriage” law for state-registered domestic partners in Washington.
“You may not consider my family a family, but I know in my heart that they are. So will you please pass this bill, so that everyone can know that this is my family?”
-Benjamin, the 10-year-old son of one Seattle lesbian couple
“Genuine marriage has provided for the foundation of healthy and harmonious family living for civilized societies for centuries. It does not exist just for the emotional satisfaction, affirmation or validation of individuals, but for the greater good of the social order.”
-Larry Stickney, with the Washington Values Alliance
“When our kids now ask us if we’re married, we say, ‘Not in the eyes of the law, but yes, we are married in our hearts.’”
-Amie Bishop, a social worker and mother of Benjamin.
“It was said that (same-sex marriages briefly performed in Oregon) never existed. It was a devastating and humiliating experience. All of sudden, we felt totally negated, and that we and our relationship did not exist and there was no protection for us.”
-retired National Guard Col. Grethe Cammermeyer.
“They should be satisfied withthe status quo. Enough is enough.”
-a grandmother whose name I didn’t get.
“I say this respectfully, but there’s going to come a time when we’re all going to have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for things done in the flesh.”
-Roy Hartwell, pastor of a church near Olympia.
“We’re here, we’re coming, we’re voting…We’re voting in your districts … We’re voting for this.”
-David Iseminger of Seattle.
“We vote as well…We will be back.”
-Gary Randall, with the Faith and Freedom Network
(For more context on the quotes, click on the story link above.)
Lawmakers in the House and Senate have introduced bills to broaden the rights of couples who register with the state as domestic partners. So far, nearly 5,000 couples have signed up for the registry. Many are same-sex partners; others are heterosexual senior citizens. (The latter group could marry, but doing so would mean that some widows and widowers would lose pension benefits or other rights linked to a deceased spouse.)
Two years ago, lawmakers approved the registry and granted the partners rudimentary rights, such as being able to visit each other in the hospital and make health care decisions for each other.
Last year, those rights and responsibilities were expanded to cover property rights and set up a formal process for dissolving the partnerships.
This year’s legislation — a first draft was nearly 2,000 pages long — is an attempt to give those couples virtually all the rights and responsibilities of married couples in Washington. It covers about 300 things, including pension benefits, estate taxes and things as mundane as automatically transferring a business license to the surviving family member.
For the purposes of this chapter, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships…
the bill says repeatedly. The couples would not, however, be married. Two other bills would allow same sex marriage, but neither of those is expected to pass this year.
“It is not marriage, but it is everything that heterosexual families have currently,” said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle.
Marriage, he and other proponents say, remains the goal.
“What we know