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R-74: Yes vote on marriage equality is right for Washington

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Sep. 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm with 8 Comments »
September 14, 2012 5:45 pm

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Much has been written about what Referendum 74 is about and what it might or might not do if voters approve it Nov. 6.

Why they should vote yes can be summed up in one word. Equality.

Earlier this year, the Legislature gave same-sex couples the right to marry. But opponents gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot that requires voters to either affirm of reject marriage equality.

It is our hope that voters will approve R-74, that they will recognize that this is a basic civil rights issue and that it is wrong to continue denying homosexuals the right to marry the one they love.

Yes, they now can enter into civil unions – the so-called “everything but marriage” status granted by the Legislature in 2008. But that second-class status isn’t really marriage, and both supporters and opponents know it.

Support for marriage equality has been steadily growing; because young people overwhelmingly favor it, time is inevitably on proponents’ side. Fifteen years ago, only about 25 percent of Americans favored it. Today, the number is much higher, and that trend is going only one way – forward.

Six states – New York, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire – and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage. But the right was granted there legislatively or by court ruling. If R-74 passes, Washington could be the first state where voters affirmed same-sex marriage. Voters in Maine and Maryland will also be considering similar measures Nov. 6.

Even if Washington voters approved R-74, same-sex couples would still not enjoy all the rights and privileges of heterosexual couples because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Social Security and veterans survivor benefits, for instance, would be denied to a homosexual’s spouse. Nor would gays and lesbians have the same immigration rights that heterosexual couples enjoy.

That could change someday, though. Several federal courts have declared DOMA unconstitutional, and those cases are under review for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, it would be a huge – and correct – step forward for Washington voters to act at the state level and create yet more momentum for marriage equality.

Gays can now serve openly in the military, and that institution has survived; a new study even shows that it has been strengthened by inclusion and equality. We are certain that will be the case with the institution of marriage as well.

• Read previous endorsement editorials here.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. Never happen…a NO VOTE from ME!!!

  2. djfarms57 says:

    I’m with you. This is a definite NO for me too. God did not create homosexuality. People did.

  3. Definitely a YES vote in our household.

    Homosexuality is found in over 1,600 species; homophobia is found in just one.

  4. CrazyJim says:

    Pencil me in for a “YES” on #74

  5. bobtanderson says:

    I believe that the decision of which marriages that churches should sanctify should be up to the churches. Those churches who believe that they want to sanctify churches of same sex couples should be allowed to do that. The government or other churches shouldn’t be able to interfere. Too bad that Catholic Bishops and evangelical churches don’t have the same respect for religious freedom for other denominations then they have for their own. Now it is up to the voters to get the government out of the game.

  6. bobtanderson says:

    Many mainline churches support marriage equality, and Jesus said that “God is Love.” Love between couples should be able to be sanctified by those churches who wish to.

  7. “Many mainline churches support marriage equality, and Jesus said that ‘God is Love.'”

    The first part of your sentence is true. The second part is dangerously deceptive. Yes, God is Love, but that doesn’t mean that God approves of homosexual behavior. There is absolutely nothing in either Testament of the Bible that supports such an assertion.

  8. tacomascene says:

    “Homosexuality is found in over 1,600 species; homophobia is found in just one.”

    ~ Very True….

    And then there’s this: Letter to the editor: “R-74: A yes vote says God made a mistake.”

    What I believe to be a relevant issue that seemingly is being overlooked is that marriage is a civil act and religion has nothing to do with it. Comments regarding, “strange gender equality and persistent rejection of God’s instruction for marriage” has no place in a civil environment. It has been religious environments that have created endless amounts of mental and physical anguish; you have only to consider the Crusades of earlier times for constructive examples.

    And then there’s this that I’ve wondered about from time to time: I wonder how things would be if we had to listen to all the leaders of all the one-and-only-true churches?

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