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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words

October 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

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Readers pushing to approve R-71

Posted by Letters editor

A little less time preaching

It’s gratifying to me that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Referendum 71 petition signers do not have an expectation of privacy [“Release signatures, court says, but appeal planned,” NWFriday, Oct. 16].

Legally, the First Amendment does not guarantee citizens anonymity in seeking redress from government. Equally important, if the court had affirmed that signing a petition in person somehow creates a veil of secrecy, it would have imposed all kinds of chain-of-custody requirements on petition gatherers that would have spawned endless legal wrangling.

But let’s not forget that the real issue with R-71 isn’t privacy, it’s equality.

To deny gay and lesbian couples the protection and privileges afforded everyone else is unacceptable.

Those so-called religious leaders working to repeal the law securing partnership rights for all Washington citizens ought to spend a little less time preaching against gays and a little more time rereading the gospel message of the man they claim to follow.

— Dan Murphy, Everett

We will continue this fight for equal rights

As we come closer to the vote on Referendum 71, I start to think about the facts.

Equal legal protections under the law is the basis for the expansion of domestic-partner laws. We live in a nation that is behind in this fight. Roughly 20 other developed nations have legal protections for same-sex couples.

The U.S. is lagging behind in health care, education and, in my case, my rights as an American citizen to have equal protections with my partner.

I vote to approve Referendum 71 not only because I am a gay man, but because we are the leader in this world that has fallen behind in human rights, decency and protections for all of its citizens.

Do we not have larger issues at hand than taking away the right of an individual to visit their dying partner? Is my relationship of six years less than that of my best friend Courtney and her marriage to her husband?

When my partner is sick, I take care of him; we are a family. No matter what this vote turns out to be, we will continue this fight until we have equal rights.

— Chris Boone, Seattle

Liver and onions

I am a married, straight male. I know that two men or two women in a committed relationship to each other will not harm my marriage or anyone else’s marriage, either current or future.

I am quite confident it won’t cause any harm to any children, either. Those behind Referendum 71 hope that a majority of voters will think otherwise.

I’m not asking you to like the idea of two people of the same gender being intimate with each other. I have no interest in the practice myself. However, I also don’t like liver and onions, but that doesn’t mean I want a law banning the eating of liver and onions.

Everyone is different, and I respect that. I’m asking you to do the same.

The state Legislature already passed the everything-but-marriage law. With Referendum 71, it is up to the voters to reaffirm that the Legislature acted appropriately.

I assure you, they did.

— Robert L. Stewart, Renton

Human rights are not a ballot initiative

Just last year, after living in Seattle for eight years, I returned to California. At that time, the battle of Proposition 8 was heating up. I returned to a state full of hatred and anger. It became open season on the gay community.

What was once an accepting atmosphere became one of hostility and disdain. I soon found myself marching on street corners protesting Proposition 8, and fighting for my human rights.

I have decided to return to Seattle, as it appears that the same situation is happening there. I would like to say one thing to voters in Washington: Whom I choose to love does not and will not ever affect you personally.

Nothing negative has resulted from the thousands of marriages that occurred in California before Proposition 8. Life has remained the same for every California resident, except for same-sex couples.

Referendum 71 will only affect those who wish to take advantage of it. It is both inhumane and hateful to place people’s human rights on a ballot.

How would you feel if we put initiatives on the ballot to remove the right to drive for people over 60 or to ban divorce?

— Karen Hedberg, Palm Springs, Calif.

Voting yes will truly protect our children

A few months ago, when this referendum was still in the signature-collecting stages, I came across an article comment that has stuck with me throughout this referendum process. I believe it encompasses exactly for what we are fighting.

In response to an article written regarding the text printed on the original referendum petition, a woman stated, “It’s funny that they chose to write “Protect the Children” on their petitions that’s exactly what my partner and I are trying to do for our son through a domestic partnership.”

The reality of Senate Bill 5688 is to simply provide equal protection for all families under the law. Period.

By voting approve, a couple of rights you would be supporting include the right to death benefits for partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, and the legal protection of senior citizens who choose not to marry because, in doing so, they would lose their Social Security and pension benefits.

To truly protect children, seniors and all Washington families, it’s imperative that Referendum 71 gets approved.

— Kara Gallemore, Fall City

Opposing opinion: Why does R-71 include elderly?

R-71 tries to put non-married senior heterosexual partners in the same category as all same-sex gay partners.

Why does R-71 include senior citizens as well as gays? To get yes votes from the ill-informed, of course.

Does it not seem just a little bit strange that approval of R-71 will bring same-sex partners closer to full-blown marriage, while in turn preserve financial benefits for same-sex senior partners who believe marriage is not in the couples best interest?

I will vote no on R-71 because as a senior I will not vote for something that benefits me, while at the same time gives legitimacy to something I do not believe in.

— Robert McQuade, Kent

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