Thursday, February 2, 2012

Same-sex Marriage in Washington State

The state of Washington appears to be on track to join six previous states that have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage. The Washington Senate approved the Bill and now it is to be sent to the House where it is expected to pass without issue. However, opponents of the Bill are already prepared to challenge the law with a referendum.

The Bill in question dealt with several issues regarding same-sex marriage; issues regarding legal protection for religious groups and organizations and businesses that object to gay marriage. An amendment allowing for a referendum clause was refused, but opponents still promise to use a referendum to attempt to overturn the pending law. However, no action can be taken until the Bill is passed by the House and becomes law.

Depending on the outcome of the referendum, the law could allow same-sex couples to begin wedding in Washington as early as June. However, if enough signatures are obtained for a referendum the outcome will not be final and same-sex marriages will be postponed until after the November election.

I have written about same-sex marriage on several occasions on this blog, and my opinion as to whether they should be legalized or not remain the same. However, in this case one of the more interesting items are some quotes by the Bill’s sponsor stating that lawmakers who vote against gay marriage “are not, nor should they be accused of bigotry.” He continues on by saying that, “Those of us who support this legislation are not, and we should not be accused of, undermining family life or religious freedom,” and “[m]arriage is how society says you are a family.”

Senator Ed Murray, the Bill sponsor, does not want unwarranted personal attacks at other legislators due to their vote; whether their vote is due to their personal prejudices or feelings or because they feel they are best serving their constituents, it is wrong to automatically assume and label them as something they are not. The Senator also attempts to head off the major opposition at the pass by stating that this is not an attack on religion or “traditional” families; it is merely allowing same-sex couple to be a family in the eyes of society. Same-sex couples already live as and are viewed by many as families, and allowing them to marry only makes this status “official”.

For the article from the Washington Post, click here.

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