Posts Tagged ‘referendum 74’

Dear Editor

Monday, January 14th, 2013

My partner, Mike Fitzpatrick and I would like to take advantage of your Letters column to thank all the PSARA members who helped during the Referendum 74 campaign in support of marriage equality. Many volunteered at phone banks and many more engaged in discussions with friends and neighbors to persuaded the undecided to vote ‘yes’. And on November 6th your efforts prevailed.

On the evening before Dec 6th my partner and I joined the long line queuing up at the County Courthouse about 10 pm. We were the 134th couple in line. By midnight when the doors opened there were 177 couples on the street. By 3 am we had our marriage license and a special certificate of congratulations signed by the county executive, Dow Constantine. By the end of that first day nearly 500 same-sex couples had filed for marriage licenses.

On Wed. evening Dec 19th our kids joined us for a ceremony to make legal, finally, the state’s recognition of the ceremony we had 22 years earlier at Wallingford United Methodist Church. So, thanks to PSARA members’ support of ‘family values’, 500 newly-married couples in King County have helped Washington state make history.

Chuck Richards, PSARA Board member

Help make history! Vote to approve Referendum 74!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

By Mike Andrew

It’s not everyday that you can help make history just by mailing in your ballot, but when we get our ballots this month we’ll have an opportunity to do just that by voting to approve Referendum 74.

Referendum 74 asks voters to approve or reject the state’s Marriage Equality Act, which allows gay and lesbian couples to marry. Although the legislature passed the law, and Gov. Gregoire signed it into law on February 14, right-wing opponents of equality challenged it in an initiative campaign and now voters must decide if the state should allow marriage for all committed couples.

PSARA has endorsed marriage equality, and PSARA volunteers participated in a phonebank for Referendum 74 on September 19.

A similar issue is also on the ballot in Maryland. There too, the legislature passed and the governor signed a marriage equality law, but the measure was challenged by right-wingers and is on the November ballot.

In Maine, voters overturned their state’s marriage equality law in 2009, but now Equality Maine has succeeded in putting a measure on the ballot to restore marriage rights to gay and lesbian partners.

All three ballot measures are ahead in polling. If one or more of them passes, it will be the first time in US history that voters – instead of courts or state legislatures – have approved laws allowing all couples to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Because we are in the Pacific time zone, Washington may not be the first state to do so, but if Referendum 74 is approved, we will be among the first group of states to enact marriage equality by a vote of the people.

While Washington already has laws that give rights to gay and lesbian couples, and the Obama administration has issued directives that ensure fairer treatment of same-sex couples when they encounter federal agencies, they still face many obstacles that married opposite-sex couples do not.

Even where gay and lesbian couples are allowed “domestic partnership” rights, as in Washington, or “civil unions” as in some other states, these arrangements are still “separate but equal” institutions that do not give committed same-sex couples the full recognition that marriage does.

And while Washington accords same-sex unions concluded in other states the same status as in-state domestic partners, these “separate but equal” arrangements are not necessarily transferable to other jurisdictions, so a couple in a Washington domestic partnership, let’s say, may find that in Missouri they have the same legal status as total strangers.

That’s why equal rights for gay and lesbian couples is a critical civil rights issue.

PSARA joins the Washington State Labor Council, Martin Luther King County and Pierce County Labor Councils, and a number of unions, community organizations, and religious groups representing both Jewish and Christian faith traditions in supporting marriage equality.

On the other side are national organizations like NOM (National Organization for Marriage) – which has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center – and a collection of traditionalist true-believers and local Republican politicians.

Approving Referendum 74 will be a huge blow to their efforts to keep gay and lesbian couples on the fringes of society, and an equally huge victory for equal rights for all families.

Help make history this year. Vote to approve Referendum 74.

It’s ‘Yes!’ on Ref 74 (If they get the signatures)

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

By Mac McIntosh 

Opponents of gay marriage were gearing up to overturn the state’s new Marriage Equality Act even before Governor Chris Gregoire signed it into law. Organizing the opposition was the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which is backed by the National Organization for Marriage.

The latter organization financed the campaigns to overturn marriage equality in California and Maine. They are reported to have a million dollar war chest to refer the Washington law to the November ballot and then campaign for a “No” vote.

This is the organization that has been quoted as saying, “The strategic goal for this project is to drive a wedge between gays and Blacks.”

The Catholic Church is also fighting against marriage equality. The archbishop of Seattle has asked the Catholic churches in Seattle to have their parishioners circulate petitions to get Referendum 74 on the ballot.

Seven priests have refused. “Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community,” said Father Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral, Archbishop Sartain’s church. Father John Whitney of St. Joseph Parish on Capitol Hill took an even stronger position: “No petitioning will be permitted anywhere on the campus of St. Joseph Parish.”

Some say that because Washington voters supported Referendum 71 (the Everything but Marriage Act) and it passed, we will be able to do the same with Referendum 74. Because of the money and organization against it, this is going to be a bigger fight. The organization supporting marriage equality, Washington United for Marriage, will need all the support they can get. You can help by contributing money, by working on the campaign, or both. Pledge support at www.washingtonunitedformarriage.

Another threat to marriage equality is the possibility of Initiative 1192, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Proponents of I-1192 are in the signature gathering stage.

Please join PSARA in this campaign to support marriage equality in Washington State. We can be successful in November if Referendum 74 is passed and Initiative 92 is voted down.