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The Beginning of the End of the Anti-Same-Sex-Marriage Movement

Washington State is currently poised to legalize same-sex marriage.  The state senate passed Bill 6239, by a vote of 28-21.  That bill would repeal an existing statutory ban on same-sex marriage and replace it with an explicit authorization of such marriages.  The state’s house of representatives is expected to pass the bill by a wide margin, and the state’s governor, Christine Gregoire, has stated publicly that she will sign the bill.

This development has significance beyond simply the fact that a seventh state will now offer marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. (The other six are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York; the District of Columbia also allows same-sex marriage.)  This will be the first time, since the beginning of the modern same-sex marriage controversy, that a state legislature has reversed itself, moving from a statutory ban on same-sex marriage to a statutory authorization of same-sex marriage.  And, given the typical timeline of social movements, this has happened in a relatively short period of time.

While Washington is not a conservative state and has, indeed, offered some form of domestic partnership to same-sex couples since 2007 (a robust form since 2009), this reversal still suggests that the powerful backlash that was triggered by the first signs of success in litigating for same-sex marriage may not be as entrenched as it seems.  In this column, I will describe Washington’s path through many different stages of the same-sex marriage controversy; the intricacies of the bill passed by the state senate; and the potential implications of the State of Washington’s experience for the same-sex marriage movement more generally.

Washington State’s History with Same-Sex Marriage: The First Wave           

Washington State has played a role at every stage of the battle over same-sex marriage.  The first wave was in the 1970s, when same-sex couples in a handful of states sought marriage licenses from unsuspecting city clerks and then sued when the licenses were refused.  State marriage codes at that time were largely silent on gender; same-sex marriage was not contemplated and thus not mentioned.  These couples thus argued that the statutory silence on gender meant that the clerks in these various states could not refuse to issue licenses to any particular couple because of the gender of the parties.

One of these first-wave cases was litigated in Washington State in 1974.  In Singer v. Hara, two men sued to compel the King County Auditor to issue them a marriage license.  The failure to do so, they argued, contravened the state marriage code (which was silent on gender), as well as the state and federal constitutions.  But, as with the couples that brought similar cases in other states, their claims were rejected out of hand.  Both the trial and appellate courts held that the existing law excluded gay couples from marriage, and that no constitutional provision was violated by the exclusion.

The Second Wave, as It Played Out in Washington State

The second wave of same-sex marriage litigation began in the early 1990s and saw its first success in Massachusetts in 2003, when the state’s highest court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the legislature could not constitutionally prohibit same-sex couples from marrying.  But long before that first full-fledged victory in Massachusetts, same-sex marriage proponents had glimpses of future success—the possibility of same-sex marriage in Hawaii in the mid-1990s and some promising litigation elsewhere.

Unfortunately, those encouraging signs triggered a swift and robust response from opponents of same-sex marriage.  Congress passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, which defined marriage for all federal law purposes as a union between a man and a woman, and purported to give states the right to refuse recognition to same-sex marriages from sister states.

Many states acted on cue and passed so-called mini-DOMAs, which took the form of statutory or constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.  To date, more than 40 states have passed such laws.  Washington State did so in 1998, with a law that expressly defines marriage as “a civil contract between a male and a female” and denies recognition to any same-sex marriage validly celebrated elsewhere.  (Rev. Code Wash. §§ 26.04.010, 26.04.020).

This ban was challenged in Andersen v. King County, a lawsuit brought by gay and lesbian couples, arguing that the statutory ban on same-sex marriage ran afoul of state constitutional protections of the right to marry and of equal rights for men and women.  Although the plaintiffs prevailed at the trial court level, the Washington State supreme court reversed in 2006, ruling that the ban was constitutional.  In so ruling, it held that sexual-orientation classifications did not merit heightened scrutiny, and that the fundamental right to marry was not broad enough to include the right to marry someone of the same sex.

The following year, in 2007, the Washington State legislature adopted a domestic partnership law, granting same-sex couples the right to register for a formal status that came with some, but not all, of the rights and obligations of marriage.  In 2009, however, the legislature “upgraded” its domestic partnership status to carry out its intent that “for all purposes under state law, state registered domestic partners shall be treated the same as married spouses.”  (Oregon and Nevada also made similar moves around that time, joining California, which had upgraded its domestic partnership status to a true marriage equivalent in 2005.)

The National Landscape for Same-Sex Marriage

Because of the wild burst of activity both for and against same-sex marriage that took place between 1996 and 2012, the national landscape is now quite checkered.  Seven jurisdictions—Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, and New York—grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples.  Another five—Vermont, New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, and Hawaii—recognize “civil unions,” which are identical to marriage in all but name.  Moreover, four states (California, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington) allow robust domestic partnerships.  Overall, this means that same-sex couples have access to marriage or a marriage-like status in fifteen states and the District of Columbia.

In virtually every other state, there is an explicit ban on the celebration or recognition of same-sex marriage.  Even in the four states that grant robust domestic partnership, there is a statutory or constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage.”  The same is true in some of the civil union states as well.  Washington State was one of the states that banned same-sex marriage, but gave effect to a virtually equivalent status.

The Ins and Outs of Washington’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill

In its core provision, the bill that will now go to the Washington House of Representatives redefines marriage to be “a civil contract between two persons,” and directs that all references in state statutes to gender-specific terms such as husband and wife “must be construed to be gender neutral and applicable to spouses of the same sex.”

As is the case in many of the other states that authorized same-sex marriage by voluntary legislative action, rather than by court order, Washington State’s bill also carves out a religious exemption, although it is a relatively narrow one.  It states that no religious organization is required to host or facilitate same-sex weddings, nor is any “minister . . . priest, imam, rabbi, or similar official of any religious organization” required to solemnize or recognize any marriage.

This religious exemption, notably, is narrower than the exception set forth in the similar bill adopted in June 2011 in New York.  As I discussed in a prior column, the New York legislature not only immunized religious organizations and their leaders from liability for refusing involvement in same-sex weddings, but also purported to allow religious entities “to limit employment or sales or rental of housing accommodations or admission to or give preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from taking such action as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.”  In other words, in New York, religious organizations can refuse to associate not only with same-sex weddings, but also with people who have availed themselves of the right of same-sex marriage.

(As an interesting side note, the Washington bill adopts a “mock priest” rule, which validates marriages that are performed by someone without the authority to solemnize weddings, as long at least one of the parties had a good faith belief that the officiant did, in fact, have such authority.  This would seem to moot any challenge to the validity of marriages performed by Universal Life Church or other online-ordained ministers.  However, as I’ve discussed in columns here and here, the consequences of using online-ordained ministers in other states can be grave, for marriages at which such “ministers” officiate may be deemed invalid, and that invalidity may lead to problems down the road. )

The Washington State bill retains domestic partnership as a status, but makes it available only to couples where at least one party is age 62 or older.  This is designed to allow a formal commitment to be made between older individuals, without compromising their Social Security or other retirement benefits, which sometimes turn on marital status.

What about current domestic partners who are not old enough to qualify under the new version of domestic partnership?  Their unions will automatically be converted to full-fledged marriages on June 30, 2014 if they are not dissolved prior to that date.  The Secretary of State will be charged with notifying each person in a registered domestic partnership of that pending conversion—and also of the right to opt out through dissolution of the domestic partnership.

The Washington State bill also adopts explicit rules about the recognition of marriage-equivalent statuses from other states.  Same-sex marriages from elsewhere will be recognized since they will now be allowed in Washington.  But what about marriage-equivalent statuses like civil union and domestic partnership? Any validly formed union that provides “substantially the same rights, benefits, and responsibilities as a marriage” will be treated as a marriage in Washington State.  But couples that become permanent residents of Washington State must marry in Washington within one year after establishing residency to benefit from this recognition for same-sex marriages and marriage-equivalents from other states.  In addition, if the out-of-state status is not substantially similar to marriage, but does resemble Washington State’s domestic partnership status, then it can be recognized as a domestic partnership.

The Continuing Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage

As I suggested in the introduction to this column, I believe that the impending authorization of same-sex marriage in Washington State is significant.  We have seen other states move through various stages with respect to same-sex marriage—and not always in a linear direction.  Maine, for example, was poised to authorize same-sex marriage pursuant to legislative adoption of a marriage equality bill, but the voters then denounced same-sex marriage by referendum, which took precedence.  Something similar, although drastically more complicated, happened in California, which has seemingly adopted every possible angle on same-sex marriage over the last decade.  Now, the fate of same-sex marriage in California is wrapped up in litigation over the constitutionality of Prop. 8, an initiative constitutional amendment that banned it.

Other states have gone from having no law at all on same-sex marriage, to a compromise position, and then to full-fledged marriage equality.  Vermont, for example, has never banned same-sex marriage.  It was dragged into the same-sex couple recognition business by a court ruling, in Baker v. State, which mandated that same-sex couples must receive equal “benefits” to married couples.  The legislature thus invented the civil union and then, of its own volition, moved to full marriage equality many years later.  New Hampshire was never spurred to action by a court ruling, but also went from recognizing civil unions to full marriage equality.  New York also never had an explicit ban on same-sex marriage, although its highest court said it constitutionally could have one in Hernandez v. Robles.  The legislature, however, jumped right in at the same-sex marriage level, with a marriage-equality bill, in 2011 (passed, somewhat surprisingly, by a Republican-controlled senate).

But Washington State is different.  There, legislators—little more than a decade ago—decided to ban same-sex marriage.  And the state’s highest court, in Andersen v. King County, affirmed the legislature’s right to do so, without violating the state constitution.  But with this current bill, the Washington State legislature will now, on its own, reverse itself on this controversial issue.  (Interestingly, too, although it was not clear at the outset whether the proponents had the requisite number of votes, the bill was debated in the state senate for only 90 minutes.)  One might have expected that more time might have had to pass for the furious opposition to same-sex marriage to dissipate.  Indeed, one might have predicted that older legislators would have had to be gradually replaced with younger ones, for the legislature to accept same-sex marriage. (Young people are dramatically more likely to support same-sex marriage than older ones, regardless of political affiliation.)  That Washington State was able to embrace same-sex marriage now is thus surprising, as well as heartening.

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage bills are working their way through a variety of other state legislatures, including New Jersey’s and Maryland’s.

Same-sex marriage is an inevitable, eventual reality.  But as in a game of Othello, the chips are starting to flip.  Polls show ever-growing support for same-sex marriage, and even deeply entrenched opposition may dissipate sooner than we thought.

Joanna L. GrossmanJoanna L. Grossman, a Justia columnist, is the Sidney and Walter Siben Distinguished Professor of Family law at Hofstra University. She is the coauthor of Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press 2011), co-winner of the 2011 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize for Best Book in American Legal History, and the coeditor of Gender Equality: Dimensions of Women's Equal Citizenship (Cambridge University Press 2009). Her columns focus on family law, trusts and estates, and sex discrimination.
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  • Al Petrofsky

    This article has some good information, but it focuses on a meaningless distinction (the fact that the Washington legislature happened to vote on marriage in 1998, when same-sex marriage supporters were obviously in the minority in every single state legislature) and ignores the hugely important distinction: unlike Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York, Washington is a referendum state, and if same-sex marriage becomes law there this year, it will have survived a popular vote (or, just as significant but more unlikely, its opponents will have failed to even collect enough signatures to force a popular vote).When same-sex marriage supporters have succeeded in persuading not just a state’s judges and legislators, but its actual common voters (as measured by actual votes, not polls), that’s when the dam can said to be bursting.  And if Washington (or Maine) gets marriage this year, then that time will have come.

  • Pingback: Washington state senate OKs bill to allow gay marriage – USA TODAY | Down Town Bride

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Forrest-Cook/1465014098 Forrest Cook

    As long as I live I will NEVER embrace same sex marriage.  And The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to which I belong, will NEVER change it’s stance on this issue either.  I hold no animosity toward those with this inclination (hate the sin, love the sinner), but this act is wrong in the eyes of God and He is the one I take instruction from.

    • Wayne

      …..and I trust you enjoy your shrimp cocktail before your lobster dinner after returning from the barber……another “cafeteria Christian”!!!!!

    • Jeff

      Ok, so don’t enter into a same-sex union.  And go ahead and disapprove of the choices of those who do.  And go ahead and refuse to associate with anyone who makes these kinds of decisions.  On a personal level you are fee to do that, and should remain free to do that.

      I just don’t understand why your disapproval should carry the force of law over those who don’t share your values.

      For the record, I don’t think ANYONE’s marriage should be the business of the state.  It should soley be between the two people involved, regardless of their genders.  However, so long as the state is given a role, it should not discriminate.

    • David

      How do you know God is a “he”?   “She” happened to tell me that she is very pleased to be seeing all her children being blessed with equal rights to love and happiness.

    • John

      For the life of me I will never understand the “hate the sin…” canard. I somehow can never tease the love out of the statements it invariably follows. Where I come from treating others as inferior counts as animosity.

    • DanF

      Why did you even read this article?

    • watts99

      Cool story, bro.

    • No

      That`s nice.

      But the United States of America does not take instruction from your God, and He has no place in our legislation.

    • Alex Stern

      Just like your church would never change their stance on forbidding black people from being members, or on promoting polygamy? Somehow, the immutable doctrine was revised then, what makes you think it won’t be again?

    • Mitch

      That’s your interpretation of the Bible, which is a translation from Greek and Latin which was translated from Hebrew, and there are other interpretations of the passage in Leviticus that supposedly condemns homosexuality (notably one that actually thinks the passage is an edict forbidding rape and pillage). So, just because someone taught you that (e.g., your parents, your minister, your reading of a Bible that was translated multiple times), does not make it true.  If you were a true Christian, you would open up your mind and heart. Honestly, how does same sex marriage hurt you? Answer, it does not, except to challenge your narrow-minded reality. 

    • Mitch

      BTW, the same passage of the Bible (Leviticus) which supposed condemns homosexuality, also prohibits the eating of shellfish, or milk and meat together, among many things “wrong is the eyes of God” as you say. So, while you’re “taking instructions” from him, I suggest you run to your refrigerator and separate the dairy from the meat right away and issue a condemnation of Red Lobster for violating God’s “instructions.”

    • Anonymous

      Whether you embrace it doesn’t matter. In a civilized society with many religions and points of view, the only right position is to allow people to live their lives as they so choose and to treat everyone equally. This country should not be run as if were the Christian equivalent of Iran. 

    • Wgrey

      There were probably quite a few Mormons who felt that way about black people, too, back before the church decided they’d made a mistake and rewrote their doctrines so that African-Americans weren’t inherently inferior.

    • smg77

      Ah the stench of religious bigotry…

    • Paranormal Skeptic

      You don’t have to embrace same-sex marriage.  I will never embrace your magic underwear; however, you will always have the right to wear them.

    • Leotoronyc

      actually you take instruction from a convicted con man, Joseph Smith.

    • Bob

      Actually…God changed his mind on the issue.  He decided that it’s totally irrational and a complete waste of time to spend energy on this issue.  He also said it’s totally OK for same sex marriage to exist.  A lot of his decision making was a result of religious fanatics taking his name to enforce political issues.  He also said he wants people to start thinking for themselves.  Maybe you should too…

    • Random_Guy

      Who cares why fairy tale you subscribe to. Your stupidity in some non-existant sky fairy is your belief and you have no right to shove it down others throats.

    • http://www.facebook.com/IanDavidBell Ian Bell

      You seem pretty sure of yourself about the enduring position of a Church that holds the doctrine of Continuing Revelation.

    • Godschild

      So what you’re saying is that you know what God thinks.  Right?  You talked to God and he told you this is wrong and for no reason other than he /she said so.  So then that would make God a discriminating, unloving, unforgiving, being who has nothing more to do than to decide that two people who love each other cannot publicly show thieir love and devotion to one another by entering into a marriage together.  And this is because it harms who?  Oh thats right… it doesn’t harm anybody.  Unlike most sins that God says are wrong, this one that you claim he believes is wrong doesn’t do anyone wrong, harm anyone  or even take from anyone something that dosesn’t belong to them.  Unlike lieing, cheating, stealing, murder, rape, and even gossiping.  Now those are things God sees as wrong and for good reason.  But I guess I just dont understand how this all knowing, all loving, all forgiving being would see same-sex marriage as wrong.  Lets not forget, God has no sex.  He is neither male or female, and the same goes for the Holy Spirit. 

      Now if you’re basing your information on The Holy Bible… please let me remind you.  God did not write the Bible.  The Bible was written by man based on what he, just like you, interpreted to be Gods will.  And we all know man isn’t perfect, and his interpretations have been shown to be wrong on more than one occasion.  I mean lets talk about how The Bible says women should be treated.  Because if you’re going to quote one part as your supporting evidence, you’ve gotta include the rest.  But somehow I doubt you’ll want to do that.  Considering stoning a person to death for looking at his neighbors wife isn’t legal in this country, regardless of what The Bible says we should do. 

      So how about you look at this from a different point of view and imagine we lived in a world where heterosexual marriages were the ones being banned.  That wouldn’t change the way you felt now would it?  And yet everyone is telling you that what you feel is wrong in the eyes of God.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.  Thats exactly what you are doing and telling people who decide to get married who just happened to be of the same sex.  Love is what matters and what you and your so called Church teaches is nothing short of prejiduce and an inabliity to understand the true meaning of God and the wonderful universe he has created and filled with love.  Because as much as God created you, he created them too and I seriously doubt he got it wrong or that you know what he believes regarding this matter.  But maybe you are better than God… I’m sure when you meet him you’ll feel pretty stupid as you finally understand what God’s uncondisitional and everlasting love feels like and how its applied to all.  Inlcluding sinners like you. 

      Signed,
      God’s child in Georgia. 

    • Doug B

      Lucky for you, Forrest,  no one is advocating that you embrace or do something you don’t want to.   People respect your freedoms and you respect theirs – what a wonderful world.

    • Ray Woode

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, Forrest. But please remember that we are talking about CIVIL marriage, not the religious kind.  Gay people are seeking the right to get married in CITY HALL, not the Mormon church or any other. Some faiths may accept same-gender marriage; some won’t. Maybe most won’t. But just as gay people aren’t asking your church to accept their marriage, neither should you seek to impose your view on marriage in the civil realm.   That’s only fair.

      • grgreene

         Civil vs. religious marriage is an entirely meaningless distinction in this nation.  We have  ONLY ONE “kind” of marriage and  it is THE CIVIL kind.  There is no such thing as a “religious marriage” in this nation. It does NOT matter HOW many different churches or ministers or angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin you can get to swear that you are married: until and unless THE STATE agrees, you ARE NOT married, not in America.

    • Alexjon

      I’ll point out that the LDS Church was a hold-out in racial policy.  In 1954, Apostle Petersen directly stated that inter-marriage was wrong and voided your covenant. He also said that black people could get into the Celestial Kingdom but they would be servants.

      In 1969, when the rest of the country was making huge strides, Apostle Lee blocked a measure that would bring the LDS into modernity.

      It wasn’t until 1978 — after excommunicating civil rights activists and attacking the NAACP — that the church finally caught up with decades of progress.

      So far as “never” changing goes, well…

    • http://www.exmormon.org/ Reason

      The LDS Church has revised its stance on social issues in the past: it was taught vigorously for decades that blacks couldn’t hold the priesthood, ever. Brigham Young’s many racist talks are well documented on this. However, that all changed when schools threatened to boycott the BYU football team and then poof, a sudden revelation from god that it should be different.  The book of mormon itself has over 3,000 changes made to it since it was written. The latest version just had even more changes. The LDS temple ceremonies have changed significantly since they were initially copied from the masons and this is also well documented. There’s nothing set in stone in the mormon church and, in fact, many say that’s the beauty of it: the mormon church’s new-revelation doctrine that allows for changes to be made without the church looking hypocritical, at least from the inside.

    • Anonymous

       Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Sparky. So, if you wish to live in a religious country, MOVE TO IRAN ALREADY! We in America dance to the tune of being secular, not a religious government. If we are to become a religious country, whose God will we all dance to? There are people who worship their version of God. Are we to FORCE them to believe something that they don’t believe in? Would you put up with being FORCED to believe something against your beliefs? I think not!

    • Con

      But there is a difference between not believing same-sex marriage is what God wants for His people and allowing others to act on their own religious beliefs.   How would you feel if you were in the religious minority and some other majority banned your church’s marriages because they weren’t up to their standards?

      To stand between me and my family is to stand between me and my full American citizenship.

    • Passionatejus

      Don’t worry, we will never elect one of you president either, no matter how much money Willard Romney has.

  • Josie

    Does anybody ever read the Bible and use it as a guide in every aspect of thier lives?

    • Boguseconomist

      Perhaps, but a lot more use the Koran. Do you advocate all people using their holy books as a guide to conduct, or just people who believe the same thing as you?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VPMAY34SN57KZSIMH2MKKTNMVA Roni

      I’m not Christian, so I don’t.

    • Cindy

      If only they would put the same energy into condemning adultery… but it’s easier to cast stones when they don’t reflect back upon oneself.

    • Dan Marcum

      Yes. Christians do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quentin-Crisp/100002313196445 Quentin Crisp

      I do – to the letter. That’s why I never eat clams, lobsters, scallops and other shellfish. It is an abomination to do so. I also do not wear blended fabrics for the same reason. After all, it’s not up to us to decide which abominations we can disregard and ignore.   However I confess, I draw the line at keeping slaves (I don’t have any) even though Leviticus 25:44-46 says it’s perfectaly alright.

    • Doylebays

      Yes, Josie, I read the Bible and use it to guide my life on a daily basis. It shapes my decisions. It guides my actions. The Lord is with me always, He will never leave me nor forsake me. How can I do any less than He asks of me?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Thompson/1056772816 Bill Thompson

    First of all, it is “same gender marriage”, not “same sex marriage”.  Everyone who is married knows it gets to be the same sex every time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quentin-Crisp/100002313196445 Quentin Crisp

      actually Bill, gender is a euphemism used by those too squeamish to use the word sex.  That so many people are squeamish about that little 3 letter word, gender has been co-opted to become an acceptable but erroneous alternative. People are of the male or female sex (excepting those of intersex or transsexual states)  Gender refers to those qualities either masculine or feminine. Etymologically gender was only used in classifying objects, not people.  For example “Le telephone” (masculine) “La Television” (feminine)  Obviously in it’s original use, gender is nebulous and arbitrary.  So go ahead, say SEX!  lol. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Quentin-Crisp/100002313196445 Quentin Crisp

      actually Bill, gender is a euphemism used by those too squeamish to use the word sex.  That so many people are squeamish about that little 3 letter word, gender has been co-opted to become an acceptable but erroneous alternative. People are of the male or female sex (excepting those of intersex or transsexual states)  Gender refers to those qualities either masculine or feminine. Etymologically gender was only used in classifying objects, not people.  For example “Le telephone” (masculine) “La Television” (feminine)  Obviously in it’s original use, gender is nebulous and arbitrary.  So go ahead, say SEX!  lol. 

  • Anonymous

    Another commenter touches on this issue, but the fact that Washington is a referendum state is hugely important.  The article describes the 2009 “upgrade” of the domestic partner law to “everything but marriage” as being done by the legislature, but in fact, this also went to referendum that November. Proponents of the referendum argued that passing the law would lead to gay marriage in the state and used the same arguments that led to a defeat of gay marriage in Maine.  The debate was framed as one over gay marriage, and not just the “everything but marriage” rights.  Washington voters were warned of the catastrophic societal decline, etc etc, that would happen if this law was passed.

    Importantly, Washington voters rejected the referendum and affirmed “everything but marriage” rights for same-sex couples.  This gives us crucial information in thinking about how these same voters (the vast majority of whom also voted in 2009) will vote this year. It is unlikely that arguments against same-sex marriage that failed to convince Washington voters in 2009 will suddenly become persuasive in 2012.  Obviously there are reasons that the referendum might fail–people’s attachment to the institution of “marriage,” etc–but the 2009 referendum is something to consider when thinking about how the fight in Washington will play out.  Same-sex marriage opponents did not leave 2009 feeling confident about their ability to win in the state, and they (and donors) may be cautious before launching the campaign again in 2012.

  • Boguseconomist

    Maybe – just maybe – the United States is beginning to see that religion and government must be kept completely separate, as the Founders intended.  Same-sex marriage, abortion, end-of-life choice and any other topic that involves religious belief as opposed to scientific evidence has no place in jurisprudence.

    • grgreene

       Come on, you can’t say  that abortion and end of  life choices have “no place in jurisprudence”.  The law has to say something about these issues.  One would certainly hope that it would try to say something moral as opposed to immoral.

  • http://twitter.com/res08hao1 Uncle Bernie

    If these, uh, people want to marry, they must declare which is the bride and who is the wife.

  • Doug B

    Thank you for an informative article.  It seems a rarity these days.

  • Grant MacDonald

    The evil
    writings in Leviticus 18:22 against gays depict; rules for temple rituals or “P”
    … Priestly Rules & expanded by the pope; homophobes and religious frauds to
    attack the gay community and never meant to apply to the public but to priests.
    Leviticus exists in the old testament & torah & were written long after
    Moses; 600BC.  Being left-handed or being gay is just as natural.  Bibles and the torah which includes leviticus 18:22 should be
    immediately banned for promoting hatred against minorities; namely the gay
    community and the crosses removed from all schools and churches.

     

    “It is written; so therefore it shall be? We are the
    chosen people? Such a wicked fantasy.”  To see
    the religious lunatics manipulate government and our lives is
    shameful.   

     

    There is
    no scientific evidence to prove any of the cross related bogus elements of
    christianity.  Man goes back 6,000,000 years; 5,996,000 years before
    the Greeks, Romans and the Jews and 5,998,000 years pre-dating the myth of
    christianity which is a mere 2012 year old cult.

     

    In the year
    325 AD; Emperor Constantine — who to some was the first pope; went on to fabricate
    & market Christianity with the creative historian Eusebius; a fiction which turned out to be one of the most
    hateful & evil concoctions ever perpetrated on the world.  

     

    Einstein
    stated in a letter recently auctioned that the bible was a collection of
    primitive legends. He said believing in God was childish and he as a Jew is no
    different than another person and not chosen by God. Many theologians
    state quite correctly that the birth; crucifixion; resurrection and other
    elements of christianity actually didn’t even happen! 

     

    It is a
    sometimes rare occurrence to fall in Love and to hold that person in your heart
    and be loved in return … it is something that should be
    celebrated!   If it is between two guys or girls all the
    better.  It takes even more courage to defend that LOVE!

     

     

     

  • Grant MacDonald

    Being left-handed or being
    gay is just as natural.  

    • grgreene

       This is what we are trying to get people to believe.   A lot of the opponents understand subconsciously that most people are at least a little bit bisexual, so they think of this as a question of choosing to engage or not engage in immoral behavior.   At some point it is going to dawn on them that they did not choose to BE straight; it is the fact that they ARE straight (if they are) that causes them to choose partners of the opposite gender.  You can choose whether to right with your right or left hand but you did not and cannot choose to BE right or left handed.

  • Anonymous

    “Though the will of the majority is in all
    cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable;…the
    minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and
    to violate would be oppression”.

    –Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address in 1801

    I think there is still – strangely enough – a major misconception as to what this is all about. I’d like to clear that up:

    This *is* about a set of laws and regulations pertaining to the
    obligations and rights of two consenting adults that officially commit
    to each other before the state and the obligations and rights of the
    states towards them. It is also about the question wether those
    obligations and rights should apply to gays as well as for
    heterosexuals. It is about the question wether it is constitutional to
    take away those rights and obligations from gays.

    It is *not* about ‘the joining of two people of faith of the opposite
    sex in holy matrimony before God’ that some denominations of the
    Christian persuasion regard as a sacrament and that some people
    erroneously believe is the only valid definition of marriage. (It *is* a
    valid definition but it’s one that’s legally irrelevant). It is not
    about moral considerations or a life lead agreeable to a god.

    The state has a vested interest in creating an environment that furthers
    the upbringing of children in a safe setting (but it does not *demand*
    that there be any offspring) in order to secure the next generation of
    taxpayers and valuable members of society. That is the reason why the
    state is the only entity to issue marriage certificates that matter
    legally.

    The churches’ interest in the matter is *absolutely irrelevant* in a legal sense.

    Furthermore there is *absolutely nothing* that changes for the churches
    if Gay Marriage is to remain (which I think it should and will).

    Organized Religions are acting more and more like UNreligious Political PACs in their attempt
    to take over our secular government. Why do we allow this political
    activism to be funded with TAX-FREE money? Label them Political PACs and
    tax the funds. They are coercing all citizens to go against their will to underwrite indirectly their
    political activism through our paying higher taxes to make up for their
    UNreligious political tax-free funding. Very unfair for them to hide behind the
    “religious” clause when they are doing “UNreligious” interference in State’s Civil Rights laws and the Federal Civil Rights laws. Take away their tax-free designations until they start acting like Religions again.

  • Sean Stone

    Sickening. This perversity is what is destroying the country. Deep down inside even the biggest queens know what they are is wrong. No wonder the gay community is so full of alcoholics and drug addicts because they know what they are is perverse. No wonder they’re always making such an annoying thing about “we’re here we’re queer…” etc. Who asked? They need to get over themselves. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Lindsay/542903986 Gary Lindsay

    The reason the battle for real marriage equality has heated up can be squarly laid to the feet of the virulent homophobia of the National Organization for (straight-only) Marriage.  NOM has fought civil unions / domestic partners with such rapid homophobia that the Gay / Gay-friendly wings of our country realized they might as well push for full blown marriage rights / rites, since NOM was going to oppose any kind of relationship recognition.  We  would have accepted separate, but nominally equal, except for Maggie Gallagher’s bigotry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Lindsay/542903986 Gary Lindsay

    Bill Clinton did us a huge service, by holding the GOP to a statutory DOMA in 1996.  If they had pushed then, they would have gotten a federal marriage amendment through congress and 3/4 of the states, and we could never have tried the experiments in individual states which have proved the right wing wrong on the “harm” of letting same sex couples wed.

    • grgreene

       That is ridiculous.  They DID push then and they could NOT get a constitutional amendment through Congress.  This had absolutely nothing to do with Bill Clinton.

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