Who’s Calling Whom A Liar? Marriage Equality Opponents Bear False Witness

Preserve Marriage Washington, the group working to overturn marriage equality in Washington State wrote an exceedingly hypocritical post on their blog.

Here’s the background: Washington United for Marriage recently began running the ad you see below which describes how one woman’s daughter wasn’t able to be visited by her partner in the hospital after she suffered a cancer-related seizure. Hospital staff wouldn’t even call her. Why? Because they weren’t married; they were “only domestic partners.”

Preserve Marriage Washington pitched a little fit:

Calling this a “pants on fire” misrepresentation, Preserve Marriage Washington Communications Director Chip White said, “This claim is a bold-faced lie.”

As explained on the Washington State Hospital Association’s website at http://www.wsha.org/bulletinDetails.cfm?EID=6275, “Washington State has a legal requirement under the domestic partnership law enacted in 2007 that state registered domestic partners be granted the same visitation rights ‘as a spouse’ when in a health care facility…”

What’s described in the ad is not a lie. And it’s not unusual. On paper, domestic partnership is supposed to provide the same rights but it never really does. People don’t see domestic partnerships as equal to marriage so they’re not treated equally, even in hospitals, leading to couples being denied the right to be with each other in times of crisis. Time and time again, same-sex couples are treated separately and not equally. And the people at Preserve Marriage Washington know this.

The opponents of marriage equality have convinced voters with lies like these 32 times. They’re gearing up now to plaster the airwaves with even more falsehoods and it churns my stomach. Please consider donating to Washington United for Marriage because their campaign has a very real chance of winning this time and breaking the cycle.

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

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Who’s Calling Whom A Liar

    I’m calling out your bad grammar.

  • Silver_fox-trot

    I think bad grammar can be forgiven, in this case. I know that when I’m pissed off at things like this, my ability to type gets porportionly worse.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Saying that “domestic partnerships” provide everything “equal” to marriage is like saying that the “separate but equal” facilities for black people were really “equal” to those available for white people. 

  • vexorian

    If domestic partnership is equal to marriage, then I ‘d guess those who claim there is no issue allowing homosexual people to have domestic partnership would also have no issue with them getting married?

  • Archaeopteryx1861

    The same-sex marriage campaign here in Maine also has a good shot at winning this time around. It’s going to be close! So far, the proponents have released a few ads that were nicely soft spoken, featuring regular Mainers (firefighters, clerics, veterans) explaining calmly why they’ll be voting to support same-sex couples. I think they’re using a good tactic….instead of just showing same-sex couples explaining the issue, they have other people (that undecided voters may relate to easier) explaining why they support their gay and lesbian neighbors, family, coworkers, and friends.
    The opposing side has yet to release TV spots regarding this issue. When they do, it’s sure to be entertaining. Last time around, my favorite ad was the “A storm is coming…” ad, which featured people standing in a stormy landscape, speaking earnestly to the camera with furrowed brows about how homosexual marriage is going to destroy traditional marriage, that the gay lifestyle will be taught in schools, etc. Spooky. Nothing like a doomsday scenario to scare the faith into people.

  • jose

    Ah, religion.

  • Richard McAteer

     Thank you, it’s the very first thing that jumped out at me.  Glad I’m not the only one.  The last few words also bothered me:  “braking  the cycle.”  Unless the intent is to imply a slowing of rotation, should probably be “breaking the cycle.” 

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta


  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta


  • Lurker111

    That ninth commandment was ever only a suggestion, anyway.

  • Spamamander

    I think that already having domestic partnerships (on paper) being the equivalent of marriage has given us a boost in the voting here in Washington. Not that it excuses the horrid “separate but equal” implications, but it has eased the way a bit. Nothing has changed, except that we have people who can enter legal partnerships and be happy. The world hasn’t ended.  Even here on the conservative side of the state I don’t know anyone personally who plans to vote against the marriage equality bill, though of course my sample will be biased since I generally don’t hang around with flaming homophobes. The Christians I know have separated the idea of legal equality from whatever their own personal belief on homosexuality is. It’s looking good right now but I won’t rest easy until the votes are counted.

  • Levon Mkrtchyan

    This is a worthy cause, my donation is in!

  • onamission5

    I’ve long wondered if domestic partneships and civil unions are sooo awesome and “just like” marriage, why aren’t straight, christian couples running out to get them?

    Does god need a state issued, bonified marriage certificate in order to bless their unions?

  • Don Gwinn

    So, just to be clear, the Preservation of Marriage people are correct that the law requires that “domestic partners” be given the same notice and access as spouses, but the WUM people are telling the truth because the incident they referenced in their ad actually did happen that way, regardless of the law?

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Correct. But the Preserve Marriage people would have had to have wax in their ears for over half a year (or longer) to not know that what’s on paper isn’t how it works in reality.

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Thank you!!

  • code_monkey_steve

    > Please consider donating to Washington United for Marriage

    And they don’t even hate atheists.  Not any more.  I think.  Or at least not this week.  As long as we give them money, that is.  Maybe.


  • Jon Peterson

    I’ve been saying this for years. How the fuck is this not the mainstream rhetoric?

  • ErickaMJohnson

    It was only one guy causing problems. All of that is happily resolved. Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington United, personally called the Ask An Atheist crew to apologies and thank them for being a part of the coalition. Seattle Atheists’ logo is also on the coalition page. 

  • code_monkey_steve

    > It was only one guy causing problems.  All of that is happily resolved.

    That’s true, they are now willing to accept our money, and even tolerate being associated with us in public.  And I’m sure the “campaign manager” will ensure that, in the future, this sort of bigoted attitude will be not … visible?

    With friends like these …

  • ErickaMJohnson

    Most of the campaign staff with Washington United were completely unaware of the conflict. There literally was one guy blocking AaA’s inclusion. Every single interaction I’ve had with campaign staff while volunteering has been positive and inclusive. And they mention atheists being part of the coalition during volunteer trainings. 

  • ErickaMJohnson
  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    Minnesota is dealing with it also this year… http://mnunited.org/  I’m seeing many more “Vote No” signs (no to the amendment to make marriage one person born with man parts and one person born with women parts), but in the next few weeks the Vote Yes people are going to start flooding the airwaves with emotional appeals.  If you have a couple extra bucks or live in MN and can volunteer, they could use some help.  There is also a voter ID amendment on the ballot, so getting the NO/NO vote out will be important.

  • http://www.facebook.com/abb3w Arthur Byrne

    Polling data currently suggests that WA is likely to be one of the states that the gay marriage opponents are going to lose this round.  Minnesota is a closer tossup.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    Quick question: If I get seriously sick or injured, is my live-in boyfriend allowed to visit me? Or for a person who isn’t in a relationship, and doesn’t have any family left, can their best friend in the world visit them or do they have to suffer by themselves?
    If that’s the case it seems like visitation rights in general desperately need to be changed. I know it would be a little more complicated, but there should be some way to keep on file names of people who are allowed to visit in case of an emergency, whether they’re family, friends, or romantic relationships.

  • Alex


    pretty much spot-on, I think.

  • anon101

    I wonder how many peopla are really naive enough to believe that this hospital would contacted same sex partners even if they were legally married.

  • Sue Blue

    My husband and I were living together sans ceremony when our daughter was born 21 years ago.  Hospital personnel had no problem with him being there throughout the birth process.  He was allowed to hold the baby in the delivery room and even carry her to the nursery.  His right to do this was never questioned, even though we had no marriage license and, short of a paternity test, he could not have presented any proof that he was in fact the baby’s father (we knew he was, however!).  Yet, when my lesbian cousin and her partner were having a baby, they encountered the same problem as the woman in the article.  The partner was allowed to be present for the labor and birth, as my cousin’s Lamaze helper, but when it came to having access to the baby and visiting my cousin in the hospital, she had to jump through all kinds of hoops and was repeatedly treated as if she was a potential baby-snatcher – things that never happened to my future husband. 

  • Sue Blue

    Oh, and I live in WA, and donated to the Washington United for Marriage campaign.  Last time I checked, they’d raised about twice the amount the Preserve Bigotry campaign had.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    It’s so ridiculous. Anyone that the patient wants to visit should be allowed to visit. I understand that maybe if the person’s unconscious, they don’t want to let just anyone in. But why couldn’t we have a system where people can put it in writing the people they would allow to visit them, regardless of relationship?

  • Anna

    Happens all the time, unfortunately. There was a case in Florida where not only the woman’s partner, but also the couple’s children were prevented from being with her when she was dying.


  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

     I think you mean “bona fide”.

  • onamission5

    Hah! So I do. Hang out long enough with southern folk, and everything starts sounding phonetical in your head.

  • Drew M.

     I have the oddest desire to re-watch Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

  • Kimpatsu

    Domestic partnerships are most certainly not equal to marriage for when simple example: as a Brit, if I marry an American, I automatically get a green card, but if I enter a domestic partnership with an American, I do not automatically receive a green card. Ergo, domestic partnerships are inferior to marriage. PMW doesn’t know what it’t talking about.

  • ErickaMJohnson

    They’re expecting the opposition to get a lot of money donated right at the end from outside the state. That’s how they’ve done it in other states. That’s why they’re still fund raising like crazy. And looking for more phone bank volunteers.