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Posts tagged: same-sex marriage

Counter protest greets Westboro group

Kittanya Locken and Marly Gilbert share a kiss in front of the anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church.

OLYMPIA — A half dozen members of the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church drew about 200 counter demonstrators to a protest at the entrance to the state Capitol Campus this afternoon.

The Kansas congregation said on its website it was “picketing the legalization of fag marriage” in the state Wednesday and Thursday. They apparently didn't get the memo that the law is on  hold, at least until December, because Preserve Marriage Washington filed more than 225,000 signatures on referendum petitions to put the law on the ballot.

Since Preserve Marriage Washington only needed about 121,000 valid signatures, there's almost no chance that the law won't be before voters in November. The secretary of state's office will go through a streamlined process to check signatures next week.

While the Westboro group sang, waved their signs and, for part of the protest stood on an American flag one protester had dropped on the ground, the counter demonstrators jeered, shouted and waved signs spoofing the standard Westboro “God hates Fags” signs.

“God hates figs,” said one. “Eggs hate Nogg,” said another.

Other counter demonstrators blew bubbles, waved flags or served pieces of a cake decorated with a rainbow.

Washington State troopers kept the two groups separate. But Kittanya Locken and Marly Gilbert, a lesbian couple who live in Olympia, made their way to the front of the counter demonstrators to share a kiss in front of the Westboro group.

Locken said they learned about the protest on Facebook, and decided they had to come to protest the protesters. “It's our home and our duty to support our friends.”

Austin Hedrick, a high school senior from Tumwater, said he came hoping to talk to the Westboro protesters, but the crowd made that unlikely. Hedrick was carrying his Bible and said he plans to attend a seminary in the fall. He wanted to tell the protesters they were wrong about their interpretation of the Scripture.

“The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, but it doesn't say to hate homosexuals,” Hedrick said.

Katrina Akins of Olympia, who was blowing bubbles in the back of the crowd, said she'd recently seen a movie about the Westboro Church, and wanted to see them  in person. “They're about what I expected,” she said.

Why bubbles? They're fun, they make rainbows…and the bubble blower was cheap at the dollar store, she said.

After an hour, the Westboro protesters packed up and left, and the counter demonstrators slowly dispersed.

Ref. 74 petitions have 200k signatures

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a referendum to overturn the state's same-sex marriage law will turn in some 200,000 signatures on Wednesday morning.

The secretary of state's office said Preserve Marriage Washington is scheduled to turn in signatures at 10 a.m., and the group's website says it has more than 200,000 signatures, which is approaching twice the 120,000 needed to qualify for the November ballot.

State officials recommend petition circulators file at least 150,000 signatures to account for the expected rejection rate of about 18 percent. But Referendum 74 supporters are far beyond that, according to their website.

The state will begin checking a sample of the petitions early next week, and should have it certified by midweek.

Meanwhile, Washington United for Marriage, supporters of the law and opponents of Ref. 74, said they are beginning a phone campaign tonight to ask voters to vote yes on the ballot measure to retain the law.

Obama: Move forward, don’t go back

SEATTLE — Barack Obama acknowledged he hasn't been a perfect president as he asked some , supporters to help him win another term and ask themselves a different question than the tradition standard an incument faces of “are you better off than you were four years ago?”

The question he wants to frame the election: “Will we be better off if we keep moving forward?”

In a half-hour speech regularly interrupted by the partisan audience, Obama sought to paint Republicans as the group that wants to go back to policies that didn't work in the last decade and Democrats as the party trying to move forward.

Some of the loudest cheers came whenever he mentioned something involving gay rights, and he worked that theme into many areas of the speech just a day after he said he personally supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry, although the issue should be decided by each state.

“If you're willing to work hard, you should be able to find a job…give your kids a chance to do better…no matter what your last  name is, where you come from… no matter who you love,” he said.

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

Crowds gathering outside Paramount

McClain, left, and Brotski outside the Paramount Theater.

SEATTLE — President Obama's supporters are lining up outside the Paramount Theater and filling the blocked off street in advance of his second fund-raiser of the day in this city.

Obama arrived shortly before noon at Boeing Field, where he was greeted by Gov. Chris Gregoire, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee and other local Democrats, a pool report said. The motorcade then took Obama to a home overlooking Lake Washington, where about 70 people were gathered for a $17,900 per ticket meet and greet.

Outside the estate, a small child had a sign that thanked Obama for “standing up for my mommies,” the pool report said.

Downtown near the Paramount were also fans of Obama's announcement Wednesday that he personally supports same-sex marriage.

Mary Beth Brotski and Teri McClain wore a pair of sandwich signs, which read on the front “Thanks for Evolving on Same Sex Marriage” and had a picture of a chimpanzee on one side and Obama on the other.

McClain, who said she tries to attend every Obama appearance in the Seattle area, said she created the signs this morning. The response was mostly positive, although one person did criticize her choice of picturing Obama and a chimp.

“I didn't have time to draw the whole evolutionary chart,” said McClain.

Neither were surprised by his announcement. “I think it was inevitable,” Brotski said.

“It's time,” McClain said. “He's all about change.

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.


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.


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.

House to debate gay marriage bill Wednesday

OLYMPIA — The House of Representatives scheduled a debate on the same-sex marriage bill to begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Representatives will be debating SB 6239, the version that passed the Senate last week, rather than a House version of the bill.

The two bills started out identical, but the Senate agreed to some — although not all — amendments last week proposed by critics who said the original bills didn't go far enough to protect the rights of people or organizations with deeply held religious beliefs that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Clergy would not be required to perform same-sex weddings if it goes against their faith and church groups couldn't be sued for refusing to allow such ceremonies in their facilities. For a story on the Senate debate, click here.

If the House passes the Senate bill without any further amendments, it would go to Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has said she would sign it. If the House adopts any amendments, the bill would have to return to the Senate for another vote.

The bill would not become law until early June, and then only if it isn't headed for the November ballot. As it now stands, the bill does not have a referendum clause, but opponents have said they will mount a signature drive to gather the 120,000-plus signatures needed to put it before voters. If their signature drive is successful, the law is put on hold and doesn't take effect unless it receives majority support in the general election.

Senate passes gay marriage bill 28-21

OLYMPIA – With votes to spare, the state Senate passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry in Washington, sending it to the House of Representatives where it also has enough votes to pass.

A full gallery erupted after senators passionately but respectfully debated what Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle called “as contentious as any this body has considered, then passed it on a 28-21 vote.

Those who oppose it should not be accused of bigotry, Murray said. Those who support it should not be accused of religious intolerance.

“This is a difficult personal issue because it is about what is closest to us…family. Marriage is how society says you are a family.”

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

Senate passes same sex marriage bill: The live blog


7:58 p.m.

Same-sex marriage bill passes the Senate 28-21. 24 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted yes; 3 Democrats and 18 Republicans voted no.

Gallery erupts.

7:56 p.m.

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, commends other senators for the quality of the debate. Tomorrow, people who disagree on this bill will work together on other issues.

“Regardless of how you vote on this bill, an invitation will be in the mail” from him and his partner, Michael Shiosaki, Murray said. Earlier in the day, Murray said it's their plan to get married when the law changes.

Roll call vote underway.


7:53 p.m.

Sen. Margarita Prentice D-Renton,: “I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready to vote… We've all had our say. But I think we've just about wrapped it up”

7:49 p.m.

Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, said Americans have the ability to look at themselves and ask “do we need to do better.” There was a time when women were chattel and some people were slaves. “The way it's always been is comfortable. It's kind to the majority but not kind to the minority.”

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D- Lake STevens, said he's voting for the bill even though “it's not a winner in my district.” But after serving first in the Army and now in the National Guard, he serves with some soldiers who are gay and are willing to “take a bullet for me.”

How could I look them in the eye if I voted no? How could I stand next to them if I voted no?” Hobbs said. “I will never leave a comrade behind.”

7:40 p.m.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, said he grew up with a father who was gay and whose abilities to be a parent were questioned by society.

“We stand ready to take a historic step,” Ranker said. “By continuing to differentiate between loving couples, we separate and isolate. I'm proud to stand on the right side of history. And I'm proud of my father.”

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, said he doesn't judge anyone and respects everyone, but will vote against the bill because of his religious belief. He said he wasn't judging anyone: “I am no better than anyone else and I need the forgiveness of my savior every day. But I have to do what is right. .And for me doing the right thing is voting against the bill.”

7:30 p.m.

Debate on SB 6239 begins.

The issue is “as contentious as any issue this body has considered,” Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said.

Those who oppose it should not be accused of bigotry.. Those who support it should not be accused of religous intolerance, he said.

“This is a difficult personal issue because it is about what is closest to us…family.” Murray said.

“Marriage is how society says you are a family…that a couple is committed to care for each other in health and in sickness.”

“We share the same short moments of life,” Murray said. “That is why we ask you to support this bill.

Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, says the bill will lead to silencing the people who believe in the traditional view of marriage.

“A bill that purports to be about ending discrimination leaves the door open for discrimination going the other way,” Swecker said. The protections aren't strong enough for people with religous objections, he said, and people who don't want to serve same sex couples because of their beliefs will be discriminated against.

Opponents say marriage is about procreation, but there are no restrictions against heterosexual couples who are too old to have children or aren't physically able to have children, Sen. Debbie Regala, D-Tacoma, said.

7:25 p.m.

Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, offers an amendment with a referendum clause, to place the bill on the November ballot.

“I think we'd be saving a lot of time and saying we do trust the voters,” Hatfield said.

“The voters do have the ultimate say. They have the ultimate say when they elect us and send us here to make these decisions,” Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said. “Any bill we pass here…the voters can come forward, they can collect signatures and they can submit it for a vote.”

Brown said this would be asking people to vote on the rights of the minorities and subject them to the will of the majority. “We're going to reject the concept that separate is equal,” Brown said. “We have a nation of laws, and rights.”

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said there's always a tension between what you send to the public and what the voters send legislators to Olympia to do: “If ever there was an issue of what you send to the voters, this is it… It's more basic than our constitution, it's a basic unit of society.”

In all likelihood, the bill is going to be put on the ballot anyway, Padden added.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said changing laws on marriage is like trying to change the law of gravity. If one steps out the window, gravity is still there.

“I think this rises to the level of significant change,” Benton said. “One that should be left to the great citizens of the state to decide . The founding fathers realized there were some issues that were too important for just the Legislature to decide.”

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, no one thought of putting a referendum clause on it. To opponents who say the same-sex marriage law effects only one-half of 1 percent, protecting the rights of the minority “Is what we are all about.”

Roll call vote requested: Amendment fails 23-26.

That's the last amendment. Vote on the bill itself to follow.


7:10 p.m.

Sen. Don Benton has an amendment that makes “perfectly clear rather than generally” that religously affiliated foster care services are exempt from the law.

Supporters argue the amendment is “duplicative” with amendments already passed.

“It's important we have our agreements with ourselves and the governor in the law,” Benton said.

Roll call vote requested. Amendment fails 23-26.

7:03 p.m.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, offers an amendment that provides protections for religious-based organizations that provide foster care.

Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, said courts place children in “the best interest of the child,” and the bill won't change that, but supporters don't object.

It passes by a voice vote.


Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, calls for a vote on an amendment that would offer

Protects clergy collars, but what about the blue collar worker?

“The amendment reaches into our civil rights statutes,” Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said. If opponents want to amend the civil rights statutes which ban discrimination for sexual orientation, they should do that.

“It's a problem in search of a solution,” Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said. “This amendment is not necessary.”

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said when the sexual orientation language was added to the state's civil rights protections, “the proponents assured us it was never about marriage.”

Amendment fails 22-27.

To read earlier posts in this string, go inside the blog

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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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