I am offended by the yard signs that have popped up in the last few days on the roadside in my neighborhood. Urging people to reject Referendum 71 in our state is one thing, but with "Protect Marriage! Protect Children!" as their tag line? I don't think so.
First of all, the Referendum protects the rights the Washington legislature approved, which are commonly called the "Everything but marriage" provisions. Domestic partnership is what is legal in Washington. This provides protection for not only gay and lesbian couples, but also seniors in committed relationships who choose not to marry.
Protect marriage from what? Those of us heterosexual couples who have the right to marry, since we do such a bang up job of it? Current statistics put the divorce rate at between 45% and 49% of new marriages, depending on the source. And since this law doesn't even have to do with marriage, this is a moot--well, actually, a very misrepresented point.
Protect children from what? Parents in a committed relationship? We need more of that, not less. Being allowed to marry offers no guarantee that a couple will parent well. Child abuse rates attest to that. Simply providing biological material to create a human being unfortunately carries with it no mandatory knowledge, wisdom, or commitment in caring for that being during or after pregnancy.
What kind of protection is provided when a partner is forbidden from visiting a loved one dying in the hospital? Whom does that protect?
The question on the table is who is going to legislate what we believe? Should the state deny rights to people simply because of their sexual orientation or living arrangements? We need to approve Referendum 71 so we can protect people from the real issues on the table: bigotry and hate. I do agree with the opponents on one thing: they are encouraging people to pray for Washington State. Please do. Let's join the folks in DC and elsewhere and Stand on the Side of Love, not hate and fear. Contrary to what many on the dark side would lead you to believe, many Christians and Christian churches stand solidly on the side of equal rights for sexual minorities.
But you don't have to take my word for it. Listen to Stephen Colbert. Our state's fight made his national show last week. Yes people, pray. Pray hard for the people of Washington State.