Marriage Equality Opposed By Religious Organizations in Washington State

A bill recognizing same-sex marriages was signed into law in Washington State on February 13th and that law (PDF) was scheduled to go into effect 90 days later, on June 7th. But a group called Preserve Marriage Washington, which describes itself as “a coalition of pastors, community and faith groups and citizens,” has spent the last three months working to put the brakes on marriage equality. This morning, they’re scheduled to meet with election officials to deliver enough signatures to put Referendum 74 on the November ballot, thus putting civil rights up for a vote.

But Referendum 74 must be approved in November to uphold marriage equality in Washington State. (In other words, voters need to APPROVE Ref 74.)

While only about $43,000 has been raised so far (mainly to gather signatures), same-sex marriage opponents have hinted that the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Focus On The Family have pledged to spend big on this referendum campaign. Back in February, NOM’s Executive Director, Christopher Plante, flew out for the bill signing and predicted that both sides of this campaign would spend $2 to $6 million.

A recent poll found that Washingtonians support marriage equality by a narrow 54%. The state’s voters were also the first to uphold same-sex domestic partnership rights.  Washington State is now poised to be the first state to uphold marriage equality… if we can overcome these religious groups and their massive piles of money.  If you’re interested in pushing back, please consider donating to Equal Rights Washington, the group working to uphold marriage equality.

Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota will also be voting on same-sex marriage this November.

About Ericka M. Johnson

As a lover of science and reason, Ericka M. Johnson has an affinity for evolutionary biology and is the president of Seattle Atheists. She revels in any opportunity for a thoughtful debate on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything (especially over a pint.) Follow her on twitter @ErickaMJohnson

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

    Wait…the haters are putting a referendum on the ballot and then working to oppose it?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      If you confuse people enough, it’s easier to influence their vote with expensive deceptive advertising.

    • Gloryroader

      By getting a referendum on the ballot which supports marriage equality, they were able to fool enough people into signing the petitions (thinking they’re HELPING marriage equality) while at the same time stopping the bill the governer signed from becoming law automatically.

      Now we have to get enough votes for this one, PLUS enough votes against the other (the one defining marriage as between one man and one woman - if it gets enough signatures to get on the ballot) in order to achieve marriage equality.

      The lengths people will go to to deny others equal rights based on their own hatred and intolerance is staggering.

  • Stev84

    That map is wrong. New Mexico doesn’t have DPs, although it doesn’t have a law banning same-sex marriage either. Also, the DPs that are available in Colorado and Wisconsin only have a very limited number of rights and aren’t in any way comparable to those on the West Coast.

    And the vote in Minnesota isn’t about upholding marriage equality, but a constitutional amendment banning it

  • ThatTallGirl

    It’s so ridiculous, and kind of infuriating, that we still have to vote for this sort of thing. But this proud Washingtonian will be supporting equality now and in November! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/Auzauviir Karyn Wittmeyer

    I’m really hoping that with the primaries going, we’ll easily be able to approve 74.

  • The Other Weirdo

    So, it’s democracy in action?

    • Stev84

       Yeah. Exactly the kind of mob rule one-step-short-of-anarchy democracy that was spoken of derisively when the United States was founded

      • The Other Weirdo

         So, following the law in such matters is only for those we agree with? The rest is just “mob rule one-step-short-of-anarchy”? If you don’t like what they’re proposing, just go out and do what they are doing, only for your own side.

        • amycas

           I agree with Steve84. We should not be voting on a minority group’s rights. Those rights should be granted de facto by the law, especially in light of the 14th amendment. But since it is up for vote, go out there and support the lgbt community.

  • observer

    You know, with all the money and support these Christians put in to stop marriage-equality, I’m amazed they have enough effort and resources to do other stuff Jesus Christ told them to do. Like feeding the poor, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, etc. Dot, dot, dot

    • CelticWhisper

       Yeah.  One would think they’d focus on their top priority first.

      Their…top priority IS still feeding the poor and such, right?  I mean, surely they wouldn’t go and do something silly like prioritizing the undermining of LGBT marriage rights above humanitarian efforts, would they?

      …Would they?

      Guys?

      • amycas

         Sadly, they consider undermining lgbt marriage rights an humanitarian effort.

  • Thalfon

    I still find it utterly disgusting that an organization opposed to marriage rights is called National Organization for Marriage, and that an organization trying to prevent families from being legally formed and keep kids from being adopted by perfectly viable homes is called Focus on the Family. Trying to hide loathsome behaviour behind such a prettied up title. Horrifying.

    • observer

      I’m sure that’s how the four ministries in 1984 came to be.

  • ortcutt

    Marriage equality should be especially important to us for two reasons. 

    First, because loving gay and lesbian couples are being deprived of legal rights and benefits of marriage and the intangible benefits of participation is one of society’s most important institutions.  So, there is real harm to people that we should seek to remedy.

    Second, it should be important to secularists because marriage inequality has no secular justification whatsoever.  It’s a scheme of legal discrimination that is rooted entirely in religious doctrine.  The battle over marriage equality is the front-line of the debate over whether we have a secular or a theocratic form of government.  Do we live in John Hagee’s and David Barton’s America or Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s America?  That’s the question that is at stake here.

    • amycas

       Oh, it has secular justifications…they’re just really bad ones.

  • http://www.gratefultobeofthisworld.blogspot.com/ Dea

    It just makes me sick that people would waste money fighting against marriage equality and therefore force others to spend even more good money fighting for it. I can’t imagine my life being so small as to care about other people`s marriages.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

    anti-equality grifters are just that; grifters in the personal sense, and pawns to greater right wing powers in a more general sense. most of them probably fall in to one of two categories: closet cases who hate themselves and literally get off on making money by hating their own kind; and people who are too lazy to work real jobs and exist off the wingnut welfare circuit, which pays them to ride empty buses and show up at conferences to talk about how queers are destroying everything. it’s a nice gig if you can get it and don’t have any ethical direction. i think Slaggie and Brian probably make 100K/yr.

    but the real reason there’s all this anti-equality stuff happening right now is because orgs like the RCC and republican party and Koch brothers all recognize what they are losing: the electoral pull at the polls that comes from the haters. who happen to be dying off at a pretty rapid rate. poll after poll shows that young people don’t really care about denying gay people our rights. in fact, many of them truly support the efforts to bring us full equality. when the bluehairs are dead, the churches, and the voting booths that vote republican/conservative, will be more empty. we queers have been a “guaranteed to drum up votes” issue for the conservatives for so long they rely on us to bring out the inbred slackjaws who don’t otherwise follow politics, and they have nothing to replace it with now that more and more of our society accepts us. they can’t pick on minorities, women, or people outside the xtian faith like they used to be able to do, we’re the last group (outside of atheists, of course) they can reliably beat up on to drum up votes. so even though every metric says gay equality is the future, they will fight and deny that for as long as the RCC and other wealthy Citizens United types will back them. 

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    I have yet to understand how it is that two gays marrying, somehow prevents two straights from marrying, somewhere else. If one listens to the anti-gay-marriage rhetoric, this is clearly implied in what they say … yet I haven’t figured out how that works, exactly. And I suspect the AGM folks haven’t, either. They just keep intoning the same tired mantras, oblivious to the fact that those mantras have no basis in reality and make no sense whatever.

  • http://www.rebeccarosepoems.wordpress.com/ Rebecca Rose

    (I hope you’ll forgive this long post):

    Wrong (Again)

    “There’s nothing wrong with slavery!” you cried with all your might. “It’s sanctioned in the Bible!” (And by God, you know, you’re right.) ’Twas tradition that the upper class owned property like slaves. You treat your blacks quite well, you claimed (as long as they behaved). But giving slaves their freedom? To treat them just like white? You cried that it’s not natural! It’s unheard-of! It’s not right!

    You explained the color of their skin was proof of lower race. You held no malice towards them, they just had to know their place. Slavery was tradition. The way it’d always been. ’Twas written in the Bible, so to change it was a sin! You thought the color of your skin made you superior, But the rest of us all saw you as the racist that you were.

    With women, you were adamant: they shouldn’t work or vote! “Women must submit to men!” was a favorite Bible quote. ’Twas tradition they made babies, that they cooked and kept the home; A woman’s place was certainly not equal to your own! Men always ran the household: in their homes, they were the king. It’d been this way for all these years, why change a single thing?

    You explained how fragile women were, not logical or smart. You held no malice towards them, they just had to know their part. To rule was tradition. The way it’d always been. ’Twas written in the Bible, so to change it was a sin! You thought God made it obvious that they’re inferior, But the rest of us all saw you as the sexist that you were.

    And now we come to marriage ’tween two people who are gay. Stop right there! Just let me guess at what you’re gonna say! You’ll talk about tradition ’tween a man and woman pair; You’ll quote your Bible verses (homophobic and unfair). You’ll say it isn’t natural. That being gay’s a sin. (You can no more choose your gayness than the color of your skin.)
    Armed with hateful Bible quotes, you feel so justified; (Cuz you’ve never known the Bible to have been on the wrong side!)

    You’ll explain you really love gays. You really really do! You hold no malice towards them, they should just be straight, like you. Marriage is tradition. The way it’s always been. It’s written in the Bible, so to change it is a sin! You think that you’re so righteous, such a moral superstar, But the rest of us all see you as the bigot that you are.

    You make the same old arguments! Forgive me if I’m shrill: ‘Twas discrimination earlier! You’re discriminating still! You like to fight ’gainst civil rights, but every time you’re wrong. In time the country grows ashamed of the side you’re always on. Here’s why you’ll lose this battle (like the other fights you fought): It’s pure discrimination!

    You can marry.

    They cannot.
     

    • Rebecca Rose

       Sorry. The formatting got all messed up. Probably not worth trying to read it in rhyme/meter. And I don’t know how to get back in to edit it. So … never mind!

      • amycas

        My mind immediately interpreted the correct rhyme and rhythm anyways. The human brain is amazingly good at picking up on patterns. :-)


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