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Spin Control

Posts tagged: gay marriage

Today’s fun audio: Clinton dodges Terry Gross on gay marriage

 

NPR's Terry Gross asks Hillary Clinton several times about any political calculus on her change on same-sex marriage and Clinton dodges it, several times.

Sunday Spin: Same-sex marriage, one year out

As of Friday, same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington for a year. So the obvious question is: How much worse off is your marriage now that men can marry men and women can marry women?

Couples who tied the knot in the last 365 days can take a pass on this, considering you’re technically still on your honeymoon – unless you’re like a Kardashian, in which case you’re already dividing up community property. For the rest of you, though, how has your marriage survived after the institution itself was rocked to its very core?

My guess is. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Sunday spin: Initiative predictions usually wrong

Opponents of two proposed charter changes for Spokane won their fight to keep the initiatives away from voters when Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno on Friday barred them from the November ballot.

Cue the huge sighs of relief from the home builders and various nice-sounding organizations fronting for local businesses. The groups insisted the two proposals were illegal and “if enacted they would have cause serious harm to Spokane and our economy,” Michael Cathcart, government affairs director for the home builders said shortly after Moreno ruled.

An appeal is possible, so this might be hashed out for months. But if anything is certain about initiatives it is their very uncertainty. Dire predictions by opponents of what a particular ballot measure will do are almost always off target. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Same-sex marriage foes concede defeat

Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.

The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.

On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail.  A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.

Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.

“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.

To view the latest statewide results on Ref. 74, click here.

Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the  most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.

“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.

Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.

Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.

Ref. 74 supporters declaring victory

OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.

Opponents say they aren't conceding.

 Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had “some of the best minds available” analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.

That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.

There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as “cautiously optimistic” but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.

Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. “Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory,” Chip said.  

So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? “We will issue another statement,” Grow said. “But we don't think that's going to happen.”

For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.

Gregoire video appears on anti Ref 74 blog

 

The National Organization for Marriage, which is opposing the ballot measure which would let Washington recognize same-sex marriage, posted a video on its blog that suggests President Obama was hiding his support for such unions for several months.

It's a clip of Gov. Chris Gregoire telling a group that when Obama visited Washington state in February right after she'd signed the bill that's behind Referendum 74, the president whispered in her ear to thank her for that and said “history will be on our side.”

Note the use of the first person plural.

It wasn't until May that Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying up until then only that his position was “evolving.” Gregoire's remarks suggest the evolution was complete months before, NOM contends, wondering if other politicians also were receiving “secret support” from the president to change marriage laws.

So where does this video come from?

Read the rest of this item inside the blog.

Same-sex marriage campaign gets $2.5 million boost

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder of Amazon.com, the campaign announced today.

Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced  the contribution from Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos this morning. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.

It also more than doubles the campaign's total contributions, to about $4.8 million and shows continuing support from the state's high-tech executives. The campaign has also received contributions of $100,000 each from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot and is urging a no vote to block same sex-marriage, has reported about $250,000 in contributions.

The Washington Legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples early this year and it was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had announced her support for the change before the session started. But opponents quickly filed a referendum and gathered the needed signatures, placing the law on hold.

Six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, but no state has approved it through a ballot measure. Washington, Maryland and Maine have same-sex marriage proposals on statewide ballots this fall.

For the top donors to Washington United for Marriage and Preserve Marriage Washington campaigns, click here to go inside the blog.

Obama gay marriage support fuels state politicians

OLYMPIA — In a state that recently went through a legislative battle over same-sex marriage and faces a potential ballot fight over the issue, President Barack Obama's comments supporting gay marriage drew quick response.

He'll likely hear some of it in person Thursday, when he stops by for a pair of re-election campaign fundraisers.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who offered similar reasoning late last year for her switch in support of gay marriage, praised Obama for a “courageous and heartfelt act.”

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, an openly gay legislator and sponsor of the bill that could ultimately allow Washington state to recognize same-sex marriages, thanked Obama for “his courage in taking a strong position in support of equality for all Americans.”

But the National Organization for Marriage, a national group helping to gather signatures to place Washington's same-sex marriage law on the ballot and calling for a boycott of Starbuck's for its support of the legislation, predicted Obama's comments would cost him re-election. Although Obama said he personallly supports gay marriage but believes states should decide the issue, “that is completely disingenuous,” NOM President Brian Brown said.

In an interview with ABC, Obama said he had hoped that civil unions for same-sex couples would be enough, but that hasn't proved true. He also mentioned that his daughters have friends whose parents are same-sex couples and whom they wouldn't expect to be treated differently, and that helped prompt his change in thinking.

Within hours, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, as chairwoman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, sent out an e-mail to party supporters, asking them to sign an on-line petition to “stand with President Obama in support of marriage equality.”

That closely parallels Gregoire's comments in December, when she called for the change in state law and said her opinion had also evolved from supporting civil unions to marriage for same-sex couples. At that time, she mentioned the her views had evolved from talking with her daughters, whose generation is much more accepting of same-sex unions, and that children who are being raised by two parents of the same sex deserve to have their families recognized the same way as their classmates in more traditional families.

Gregoire and Obama may have a chance to discuss the issue Thursday. The president will make a campaign stop in Seattle, with a fundraiser at the Paramont Theater in downtown; Gregoire will be there, her office said.

The comments could also cause a ripple into the governor's race, which could share the ballot with a referendum seeking to block the same-sex marriage law that is on the books but currently on  hold. The leading Democratic candidate, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, has said  he supports the new law. The leading Republican candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna, has said he supports civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples, adding his stance on the issue was essentially the same as Obama's. Until today, that description was accurate, but it is now obsolete.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are gathering signatures on Referendum 74, which would give voters the final say on whether the law takes effect. A representative of Preserve Marriage Washington, the main sponsor of the referendum, told the Associated Press Wednesday they had about 70,000 of the more than 120,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot.

Stuckart will wait to propose new gay marriage resolution

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said Tuesday that he's unlikely to propose a new resolution in support of gay marriage until opponents earn enough signatures to force the issue on the ballot.

At Monday's council meeting, Stuckart warned that he might repeatedly bring a resolution forward until the council takes a stance on the resolution, but he moderated that position today.

Stuckart said that since the City Council has previously taken positions on state ballot items, there is precedent for reconsidering the resolution if repeal of gay marriage makes it to a public vote.

If forced to take a vote on the resolution, council members agree it would be approved in a 5-2 vote. But two supporters of gay marriage, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori, say the council shouldn't vote on it. They argue that it's not a local issue.

When he requested to table the resolution, Councilman Mike Fagan pointed to a council rule that says, “The Council shall not consider or pass any ordinance or resolution the subject matter of which is not directly related to local affairs or municipal business.”

Stuckart said the overflow turnout at the meeting, which attracted about 300 people — 93 of whom testified — is proof that the issue is local and affects the citizenry.

“I can't see why that's outside the city's business,” he said.


Documents:

Condon undecided on gay marriage resolution

Spokane Mayor David Condon said Monday that he still is considering what his position will be on the two hottest topics for next week's City Council meeting.

Those issues are Councilman Jon Snyder's resolution in support of the state's gay marriage law and Councilman Mike Fagan's proposal to change the city's initiative process.

Two Republican-leaning council members, Mike Allen and Steve Salvatori, have said they likely will support Snyder's resolution.

The state approved same-sex marriage this year, but opponents are expected to collect enough signatures to force the issue on the November ballot.

Although supportive of the law, Salvatori has questioned the purpose of the council weighing in on gay marriage since it's not an issue that will be decided at the city level. He doubts the City Council will change anyone's mind on such a passionate topic.

“If I wanted to be in state Legislature, I would have run for the state Legislature,” Salvatori said.

The council has taken up several non-binding resolutions this year, including ones focused on federal marijuana law, the proposed Spokane Tribe of Indian's casino on the West Plains and campaign finance.

City Council President Ben Stuckart said while some of the issues may not be considered City Council business, they are important topics that affect the citizenry. He added voting on a resolution provides a forum for local residents to debate high-profile issues.

“Being an elected official means you have a voice, and you should us that voice,” Stuckart said.

Gingrich: WA going right route on gay marriage, but people should vote it down

Gingrich answers questions at an Olympia press conference.

OLYMPIA — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he thinks allowing same-sex couples to marry is wrong, but the path Washington is taking to change its law is right.

Voters should have a chance to decide the issue, rather than the courts, Gingrich said. The Legislature passed, and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed, a bill to allow same-sex marriage but opponents have filed a referendum that would delay the law and block it if they gather enough signatures by June 6.

“I don't agree with it. If I were voting, I'd vote no,” Gingrich said during a break in meetings with Republican legislators this morning. “But at least they're doing it the right way.”

During a later news conference with local reporters, the Republican presidential candidate said he's changed his mind on medical marijuana and no longer supports efforts to have the federal government reclassify the drug so it could be prescribed for certain conditions.

He did support such reclassification in the 1980s, he said, but changed his position: “I was convinced by parents who didn't want any suggestion made to their children that drugs were appropriate.”

States don't have the right to pass medical marijuana laws and then allow some sort of distribution system to be set up, he added. “I think the federal government has been very clear… that federal law trumps state law.”

Gay marriage foes challenge ballot language

OLYMPIA — Opponents of same-sex marriage don't like the ballot language that Attorney General Rob McKenna has written for the referendum to overturn the law signed last week.

In a motion filed this week in Thurston County Superior Court, Preserve Marriage Washington argues that the ballot language leaves out a key element of the effect of the law, which will take effect on June 7 if opponents don't gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot by June 6. That element: the law would render the terms “husband” and “wife” gender neutral.

Voters who read the ballot title are not fully apprised of the legal effects of the law, PMW argues in its request to have the court change the ballot language to something closer to the language proposed when the referendum petition was filed with the state.

Last week, McKenna was criticized by Democrats for using the term “redefine marriage” in the ballot language when that phrase does not appear in the bill. Democrats say that's a term tested by groups opposed to same-sex marriage to influence voters.

To compare the language the sponsors of Ref. 74 submitted with the language McKenna's office proposed, go inside the blog.

The other ballot measure against gay marriage

OLYMPIA — A Thurston County judge has settled on ballot language for Initiative 1192, which would prohibit same-sex marriage by defining marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman.

This is not to be confused with Referendum 74, which would prohibit same-sex marriage by blocking the bill signed earlier this week by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

It's likely that petitions for both ballot measures will be in circulation at the same time in fairly short order.

I-1192 was filed earlier this year by Stephen Pidgeon, before the debate over the legislative bill took place, and is proactive. It would bans same-sex marriage, period.

Ref. 74 was filed a few hours after Gregoire signed SB 6239, and in that sense is reactive. It would keep that particular law from taking effect.

They could both be on the November ballot if supporters get enough signatures. For Ref. 74, that's about 120,500 valid signatures by June 6. For I-1192, that's about 241,000 signatures by July 6.

Huh? It's a difference in state law between the rules for initiatives and referenda, which have different threshholds and signature gathering periods. Chances are, people who sign one will sign the other, so whether one reaches the ballot but not the other may come down to whether one side has better organization or more money to pay signature gatherers.

If you want to read the official ballot language and summary for I-1192, click on the document.


Documents:

Referendum number is up, by 1

OLYMPIA — The proposed ballot measure asking voters whether they support or oppose the same-sex marriage bill is Referendum 74, the Secretary of State's office said today.

The proposal had been given the number 73 yesterday, when opponents of the law filed for a referendum a few hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill. Turns out, however, that 73 was given last year to a proposed challenge of the medical marijuana law. That effort didn't make it to the ballot, but the Secretary of State's office doesn't recycle numbers from unsuccessful petition drives.

Processing the referendum proposal now requires the Attorney General's office to write the ballot title, description and summary. Under the law, that can't take more than five days. The title, description or summary can be challenged, which would result in an expedited hearing in Thurston County Superior Court.

The printing of petitions and signature gathering would likely begin in early March, state elections officials said. Opponents of the law have until June 6 to gather 120,577 valid signatures from registered voters. If they don't, the law takes effect June 7.

If they do, the law is on hold until the November election, and only takes effect in early December if it passes. If it fails, it never takes effect.

A historic day, in many ways, for same-sex marriage issue

Gov. Chris Gregoire signs the same-sex marriage bill.

OLYMPIA — Within hours of Gov. Chris Gregoire signing a historic bill to allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington, opponents filed a referendum that would give voters a chance to endorse or reject it in November.

A Republican presidential candidate visiting the Capitol said the nation should move forward with a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex marriage.

To read the rest of this story, go inside the blog.

WA Lege Day 36: Gay marriage bill signing today

OLYMPIA — The same-sex marriage legislation will be signed at 11:30 a.m. today in a ceremony in the State Reception Room.

Gov. Chris Gregoire usually signs bills in her conference room, which has a long table, lots of chairs, and is the site for most gubernatorial press conferences. It usually plenty big for even the most famous or notorious legislation.

The Reception Room, which is one floor up in the Capitol Building, is significantly bigger. It is also more ornate, with Tiffany chandeliers, historic flags, piano, marble walls and columns in which the tour guides love to point out images in the stone. 

They booked the Reception Room because they are expecting an even bigger crowd than the one that filled the conference room for Gregoire's announcement that she would support a same-sex marriage bill this session.

The Secretary of State's office said that it will take a few hours after the signing to complete the paperwork required to have the bill scanned and given a Revised Code of Washington citation, which is necessary to be on any referendum the opponents would file in an effort to get the law on the November ballot. The office has not yet been contacted by a potential sponsor, who must bring in the referendum petition and pay the $5 filing fee.

The would be Referendum 73. If opponents can gather just under 121,000 valid signatures of state voters by June 6 — that's half what you need for an initiative — the law is put on hold and same-sex marriage goes on the November ballot. It would only become law if voters approve, and the timeline for election results to be certified means that would be early December

If they don't file enough signature, the law takes effect June 7.

Sunday Spin: Did gay marriage debate hurt budget progress? Probably not…

OLYMPIA – Republican leaders in the Legislature have been uniformly critical of the same-sex marriage bills as the proposals worked their way through the two chambers on what can only be described as the fast track.


An issue like this generates lots of buzz, both for and against, captures attention inside and outside the state, and – in a phrase that risks becoming overused – “sucks up all the oxygen.”

In floor debates, few opponents of the bill who objected to the change for religious reasons failed to mention that the Legislature should be doing the important work of fixing the budget rather than tinkering with a social construct that went back at least to time immemorial . . .

To read the rest of this column, or to comment, go inside the blog.
  

Same sex marriage signing, ref filing on Monday

OLYMPIA — The same-sex marriage legislation will be signed at 11:30 a.m. Monday in a ceremony in the State Reception Room.

Gov. Chris Gregoire usually signs bills in her conference room, which has a long table, lots of chairs, and is the site for most gubernatorial press conferences. It usually plenty big for even the most famous or notorious legislation.

The Reception Room, which is one floor up in the Capitol Building, is significantly bigger. It is also more ornate, with Tiffany chandeliers, historic flags, piano, marble walls and columns in which the tour guides love to point out images in the stone. There's also a wooden dance floor under the carpet. (Not that there's any suggestion of dancing on Monday. Just a bit of random information for those not so familiar with the Capitol.)

They booked the Reception Room because they are expecting an even bigger crowd than the one that filled the conference room for Gregoire's announcement that she would support a same-sex marriage bill this session.

The Secretary of State's office is also prepared for the filing of a referendum by opponents of the legislation on Monday, almost as soon as the bill is signed. Under state law, the referendum petition can't be filed until the bill is signed.

It would be Referendum 73. If opponents can gather just under 121,000 valid signatures of state voters by June 6 — that's half what you need for an initiative — same-sex marriage goes on the November ballot.

House passes gay marriage bill

OLYMPIA — By a vote of 55-43, the House passed and sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire Wednesday a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington. Gregoire, who called for such legislation late last year, will sign it sometime within the next week.

After nearly two and a half hours of debate, the House passed SB 6239 without amendments, setting Washington up to be the seventh state in the nation to legalize same sex marriage.

In a debate both impassioned and respectful, supporters describing struggles and discrimination they or their children have had as homosexuals or likening the current laws to statutes that kept interracial couples from marrying….

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

House same-sex marriage debate underway

OLYMPIA — The debate in the House on the same-sex marriage bill begins around 1 p.m. and goes until…

…no one's quite sure. But the House has nothing else on the schedule as far as committee hearings this afternoon, and has scheduled a 6 p.m. session this evening, in case they need time for other things they don't get to in the afternoon because of the debate on SB 6239.

Last week, the Senate debate played to full but respectful galleries. But even with votes on a string of amendments, the whole session only lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. Debate could last longer in the House, even though there may be more vote pass the final bill.

Spin Control will be live blogging — or technically live-tweeting — the debate from the House floor with a special widget here on the web site that will be picking up comments and tweets from others. TVW will be carrying the debate live on cable (check local listings for the channel in your area) and on its website.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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