Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: gay marriage

Nov.
7th

State voters were generous – if there wasn’t a price

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Tuesday’s election returns suggest that Washington is becoming a libertarian paradise – a place where gays can marry, marijuana is legal and parents might even be given the choice of independent schools for their children.

But oh, by the way – not a penny more for public education or other state programs.

A telltale piece of evidence lies deep in the down-ballot election returns, in the tally on two advisory votes that have no legal effect whatsoever.

The 2012 Legislature voted to end a tax break for big banks and maintain a soon-to-expire tax on petroleum inventories.

Both moves got broad bipartisan support in the Legislature. When candidates talk about “loopholes,” they’re talking about items like the banks’ deduction for home-loan interest and tax breaks for the petroleum industry.

What did the voters think? Apparently, if it can be construed as a tax increase – even for a coddled industry – they don’t like it. On election day, the big banks got a 58 percent thumbs-up from the electorate.

Meanwhile, voters overwhelmingly enacted Initiative 1185, which reaffirmed the existing requirement that new taxes need a two-thirds majority in the Legislature. Even with two-thirds, the lawmakers in that supermajority must be publicly shamed through the advisory vote process, which involves publishing their names in the voters’ pamphlet.

Referendum 74’s narrow victory was a breakthrough for marriage equality. But it was no money out of pocket for Washingtonians. One wonders how it might have fared had it actually required some minimal financial sacrifice to enact it. It’s a fortunate thing that civil rights don’t come with a price tag attached.
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April
25th

Same-sex marriage ballot fight makes for double puzzle

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

This year’s political argument over same-sex marriage is already divisive; it shouldn’t have to be confusing to boot.

Confusion has been arising from the two signature-gathering campaigns to overturn the Legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage. Some citizens aren’t clear on what cause they’re be advancing by signing or not signing the petitions.

The short take: A signature on either petition helps subject marriage equality to a popular vote this November. That’s something you want to do if you oppose same-sex marriage or believe the decision belongs to the electorate.

The “decline to sign” counter-campaign seeks to secure same-sex marriage by preventing the threatened repeal from reaching the ballot. Yet an election would produce the best possible outcome if the new marriage law survived it: For the first time, same-sex marriage would have been directly ratified by voters rather than enacted by legislatures or imposed by courts. The law’s legitimacy would be beyond dispute.

Why two measures? Because there are two separate groups working to undo the Legislature’s measure, Senate Bill 6239.

One group is resorting to the referendum process, which lets voters affirm or reject a new law (referendum campaigns are always hostile to the law in question). Referendum 74 would repeal SB 6239, preserving the traditional requirement that a husband be male and a wife female.
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Feb.
12th

A historic day for Washington state and civil rights

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

With Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature, Washington today becomes the seventh state to recognize gay marriage. It’s a historic day for same-sex couples seeking equal treatment under the law for their relationships.

But they shouldn’t rush out and order invitations and wedding cake; it’s unlikely they can start getting married anytime soon. Opponents have vowed to place at least one measure on the November ballot to overturn the legislation that passed the state Legislature last week largely along party lines.

Referendum backers only need to gather 120,557 signature to get on the ballot; an initiative requires 241,153. If signature-gathering falls short, same-sex marriages could start taking place in June. Otherwise, the outcome of the November election would be the deciding factor.
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Jan.
5th

It’s time to extend rights of marriage to same-sex couples

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

State lawmakers will have a lot on their plates Monday when they return to Olympia and address the budget shortfall as well as Thursday’s state supreme court ruling on education funding.

But they should also take the opportunity this session to pass landmark legislation proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire and expand the legal rights of marriage to homosexual couples.

Gregoire is proposing that the Legislature legalize same-sex marriage, which would make Washington the seventh state to allow such unions after Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The District of Columbia also allows same-sex marriage.

It is the right thing to do. Read more »

Aug.
5th

Overturning Proposition 8 breath of fresh air

When California’s Proposition 8 was overturned Wednesday, perhaps you breathed a little easier. I did.

For a few hours, the world seemed a forgiving place, where even the “sanctity of marriage” could find the grace of inclusiveness.

For a few moments, the self-righteous seemed deflated at the legal ruling described by the New York Times as “a stirring and eloquently reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination.”

But, self-righteousness never deflates for long. Google “Proposition 8″ and you’ll see, it’s already rearing its ugly head again.

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