Editorial: Referendum 74’s historic path
Washington voters were giving Referendum 74 an early lead in the polls. Approval of same-sex marriage can make history.
Seattle Times Editorial
The approval margin is narrow, but early returns appear to put Washington on a path toward making history by approving Referendum 74, supporting same-sex marriage.
Washington has been on an extraordinary journey that was paced and persistent. Community and political leaders carefully moved the state ahead.
In 2006, a law was passed that banned discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2009, a domestic-partnership law was referred to voters and strongly approved.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed a same-sex marriage law with bipartisan votes and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed it.
Washington has very much been on a path that respects the love and commitment of all families. There was recognition and formal acknowledgment that allowing same-sex couples to build lives together within a covenant of marriage did not impact the lives or choices of heterosexual couples.
Support for legalizing same-sex marriage has grown across the country, but the political reality has been intense. Thirty-nine states have banned same-sex marriage by constitutional amendment or statute.
As in Washington, the apparent trend is toward same-sex marriage. Related measures on three state ballots were supportive in early returns.
Minnesota voters were asked Tuesday to amend the state’s constitution only to recognize marriage between one man and one woman as valid. If the election rejects the proposition, as voters were doing, same-sex marriage will still be illegal by statute.
Since 1998, 32 states have rejected same-sex marriage by popular votes.
On Tuesday’s ballot, Maine voters approved same-sex marriage, after that state’s voters said “no” in 2009. Voters also passed Maryland’s 2012 Civil Marriage Protection Act.
If Washington’s historic move toward same-sex marriage is reversed in later vote counting, the response is obvious. Try again.