Election 2012: Support Equality and Gay Marriage

Vote yes on R-74 to support equal rights. Referendum 74 will finally make gay marriage legal in Washington. The state legislature actually already passed (and the governor signed) a law to legalize gay marriage. However, opponents of gay marriage managed to get enough signatures to suspend the law, requiring it go to the voters. So here we are.

The proposed law

The law does what the title says: any two people (regardless of legal sex) would be allowed to marry in the state of Washington. Further, all the usual automatic legal benefits of marriage — hospital visitation rights, filing taxes together, being able to automatically co-parent a child, etc. — would apply. Basically, take any section of state law that pertains to married couples (or domestic partnerships) and make them gender neutral. The law also specifically affirms that ministers, etc. have choice in who they marry (gay or otherwise) and that religious organizations are not obligated to make their facilities available to anyone.

There are a couple interesting bits though:

  • Imams and rabbis are specifically added to the list of folks who can perform marriages. It’s not really surprising: it’s a good time to make the law explicitly more inclusive.
  • The law has an “upgrade” provision for couples who already had a legal domestic partnership or other similar commitment.

Vote Yes on R-74 to Support Equality for All

I’m obviously voting for this. I’m not sure what argument I would make to say why I support it: it just seems obvious to me at this point in my life that my gay friends deserve the same societal recognition that my relationships get. If there’s any governmental interest in marriages as an institution (and currently we grant numerous legal benefits to it), then there can’t be a reasonable governmental interest in denying it to some based on moral or religious ideas that aren’t universally held.

If you’re on the fence or opposed, I’m not sure there’s an argument I can make that would convince you. But consider this: allowing gay marriage is no skin off your back. Your life won’t change with it legal. No one is going to force anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Gay marriage doesn’t change much for anyone who isn’t in a gay relationship. But for a gay couple, being able to get married means things I take for granted — like being able to visit my partner in the hospital — are automatically recognized. But for everyone else? Nothing really changes. Actually, no, there might be one change. You might have some friends that are gay and you had no idea. They might invite you to their wedding. Weddings are great. You should go.

Vote yes on R-74 to support gay marriage.

This post is part of series on the 2012 election, focused on the state of Washington. I highly recommend having a look at the state’s main voter guide before casting your ballot.

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