An unnecessary campaign against gay partners
Decline to sign Referendum 71, a referendum seeking to overturn legislation awaiting the governor's signature that offers "everything but marriage" to gay and lesbian domestic partners. We don't need another rendition of the culture wars.
PETITION alert: Voters racing to and from the grocery store should steer clear of the newest petition drive, an ill-advised effort to overturn the state's recently passed "everything but marriage" law.
A coalition of conservative groups filed Referendum 71, seeking a November vote to undo legislation that extends state-given benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples — almost everything but the name.
This is an unnecessary campaign at a lousy time. Don't sign. Don't put our state through another rendition of the culture wars.
Washington voters have much to manage: Many residents are out of work; others worry they will lose their jobs. Thousands of people have difficulty making ends meet.
No one needs a campaign to stomp on legislation that doesn't hurt anyone. The bill in question tidies language in numerous statutes and legislation to give registered gay and lesbian domestic partners equality in business and legal affairs, the same rights married couples enjoy.
Petition supporters note Washington lawmakers gradually expanded the state's domestic-partnership law over three legislative session, adding benefits once reserved for married people.
The incremental approach scares detractors but is a smart way to change the rules slowly as societal opinions evolve. Polls shows younger voters favor gay marriage.
Slowly but surely, an attitudinal shift is taking place in New England and other places. Gay marriage in Washington will happen.
For now, gay and lesbian couples still will not be allowed to marry, nor would the state be allowed to discriminate or deny basic rights to same-sex couples.
Conservative groups are not united on this campaign. Some that have supported anti-gay legislation in the past are uncomfortable with a measure of this nature in such a dour economy.
They have it right. It is never a good time to wage an unnecessary cultural war, but this is a spectacularly bad time to fire up this old flame. Citizens have more important things to worry about.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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