R-71, mark 'approved' to support the domestic-partnership bill
Heading into November, the R-71 debate takes a turn and a change in vocabulary. Voters should mark "approved" to support the domestic-partnership bill.
THE Seattle Times strongly recommends Referendum 71 — sensible legislation to expand the rights and responsibilities of domestic partnerships — be approved by voters in November. Key word: approved.
Repeating our support early and often is in part an effort to reinforce the change in the language of the debate that has occurred as the political season heads toward the general election.
Last spring the Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law an expansion of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners. Senate Bill 5688 was a last, logical step in a series of changes over the years to equally apply state law to all families.
Opponents immediately began a petition drive that halted the law from taking effect as they sought to gather enough signatures to refer it to a direct vote of the people. Supporters of expanded rights rallied to oppose the signature drive. Those foes of the referendum effort mounted various legal and administrative challenges to prevent the vote. The signature campaign prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
Washington Families Standing Together last week announced it would not appeal a Thurston County Superior Court judge's ruling that refused to block the referendum from the ballot. Secretary of State Sam Reed had certified R-71 as ballot ready Sept. 2.
A separate legal challenge in federal court is sparring over the release of names of petition signers who supported the referendum effort.
With R-71 on the ballot, the campaigns change their vocabularies.
Supporters of the intent of the Legislature-adopted legislation now seek affirmative votes for R-71. The question in the ballot title is:
"Should this bill be passed?" Yes, it should be "approved."
The law at the heart of R-71 is about fundamental fairness for Washington families. Of course it should be approved.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.