Update: Mere seconds after I hit “post”, this Seattle Times Editorial appeared. More below the fold.
Since last week’s announcement that Referendum 71 will be on the statewide November ballot, the endorsements and favorable editorials have started rolling in. Referendum 71 asks voters to approve or reject the domestic partnership law.
Over 155 organizations and 90 religious leaders and organizations have already endorsed the Approve 71 campaign by Washington Families Standing Together. Today, some major businesses have joined the effort: Boeing, Nike, Microsoft, Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan.
In a joint statement, The Boeing Company, Nike, Microsoft Corp., Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan Development said the law does not “sanction or encourage same-sex marriage … but recognizes that, regardless of their sexual orientation, people may enter into partnerships and create family units that deserve respect and equal treatment.
“We embrace everyone’s fundamental right to be judged on their merits and contributions rather than factors such as their sexual orientation,” the statement said.
The entire endorsement is below the flip.
Reaffirm law for fairness
The only confusion about how to vote on Referendum 71, the effort to overturn Washington’s expanded domestic partnership law, arises from the law-prescribed, non-intuitive, confusing semantics of such measures: On the ballot, creators and supporters of Referendum 71 will vote “no” to overturn the law. Opponents of the referendum will vote “yes” to keep the law on the books. …
A yes vote on Referendum 71 will keep us right where we want to be, reaffirming our commitment to ensure fairness and equality for all Washington citizens.
The Columbian asks the vital question about the wisdom of allowing a majority the opportunity to vote away the equal rights of a minority
In Our View, Sept. 6: Protect Minority
R-71 battle begs the question: Should civil rights be up for a vote?
Democracy, it has been said, can be messy.
Allowing the greater number to rule, enduring contentious campaigns, risking the tyranny of the majority … these traits can lead to discord surrounding any meaningful issue, and they must be tempered with the overriding hand of fairness.
Which brings us to the messiness that is now known as Referendum 71.
A new domestic-partnership law passed by the Legislature has come under fire and might be put to a vote. The law would broaden protection for gay and lesbian couples, granting them state-provided benefits that presently apply only to married heterosexual couples.
The law was scheduled to take effect July 26, but a referendum campaign designed to overturn that law has delayed its implementation. Last week, state officials ruled that supporters of the referendum had received enough valid signatures to place the idea on the Nov. 3 ballot, a ruling that is being challenged in court.
While it is important for the courts to reach a definitive decision regarding the veracity of the signatures that were gathered, we wonder whether this law should be exposed to the tyranny of the majority.
And the Federal Way Mirror pulls no punches in calling out the anti-domestic partnership activists on their un-American aims
Jeers to the Family Policy Institute of Washington for inflicting its dogma of intolerance upon this state. The institute praised Referendum 71′s inclusion on the November ballot, an effort by opponents of legislation that expands domestic partnership rights to gay and lesbian families. The legislation also grants senior domestic partners the same rights as married partners, all without actual marriage. The Family Policy Institute has called this legislation a “threat to religious liberty” as well as a “bribe” for seniors. In reality, this legislation is a threat to deeply-ingrained prejudices and a fear of change. Throughout history, any attempts to expand the rights of marginalized people have been met with resistance. Examples include women’s suffrage and the desegregation of schools. Americans treasure their right to maximum personal freedom and independence. In this case, the institute asks voters to reject the legislation – and limit personal freedom and independence for a small slice of the population. That way of thinking is counterproductive to American values.
Businesses can officially endorse the APPROVE Referendum 71 campaign by filling out this form on the WAFST Take Action page.Here is the entire endorsement by Boeing, Microsoft, Nike, Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan, courtesy the SLOG
BUSINESSES TO APPROVE REFERENDUM 71 STATEMENT
We are a group of businesses who stand united together by the commonality of our companies’ core values, which respect and support employees with diverse backgrounds. We are committed to supporting our employees and our customers and to ensuring the health of our communities. Accordingly, we support the campaign to Approve Referendum 71.
Approving this referendum will preserve Senate Bill 5688, a measure passed by the Legislature in 2009 to extend to state-registered domestic partnerships the benefits, obligations and responsibilities that apply to traditional marriages. The law does not sanction or encourage same-sex marriage. It simply recognizes that, regardless of their sexual orientation, people may enter into partnerships and create family units that deserve respect and equal treatment.
Overturning this law would undo years of equal rights progress made in Washington state. We do not believe that this step backward would be in the best interest for the future of our state.
As businesses, we strive to create workplaces where all employees can develop challenging careers with opportunities for growth, competitive rewards and a balance between work and home life. In a fast-paced, competitive environment, this is a shared responsibility between our companies and our employees. For this reason, our companies have adopted progressive policies that foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. Our employees know that they will be treated fairly, without being subject to prejudice or discrimination.
Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys these same basic protections in other aspects of their lives. The Legislature took an important step in that direction by passing SB 5688, and did so without placing any undue burden on the business environment or imposing excessive taxpayer cost. We believe that this action was consistent with our corporate principles in treating all employees with fairness and respect.
We embrace everyone’s fundamental right to be judged on their merits and contributions rather than factors such as their sexual orientation. Because rejecting the law would stem progress toward that goal, we urge a vote to approve Referendum 71.
Businesses to approve R-71 – Boeing, Microsoft, Nike, Puget Sound Energy, RealNetworks and Vulcan.
The Seattle Times has just posted this great editorial.
THE Seattle Times strongly recommends Referendum 71 – sensible legislation to expand the rights and responsibilities of domestic partnerships – be approved by voters in November. Key word: approved.
Repeating our support early and often is in part an effort to reinforce the change in the language of the debate that has occurred as the political season heads toward the general election.
Last spring the Legislature passed and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law an expansion of the rights, responsibilities and obligations of state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners. Senate Bill 5688 was a last, logical step in a series of changes over the years to equally apply state law to all families.
Opponents immediately began a petition drive that halted the law from taking effect as they sought to gather enough signatures to refer it to a direct vote of the people. Supporters of expanded rights rallied to oppose the signature drive. Those foes of the referendum effort mounted various legal and administrative challenges to prevent the vote. The signature campaign prevailed by the narrowest of margins.
Washington Families Standing Together last week announced it would not appeal a Thurston County Superior Court judge’s ruling that refused to block the referendum from the ballot. Secretary of State Sam Reed had certified R-71 as ballot ready Sept. 2.
A separate legal challenge in federal court is sparring over the release of names of petition signers who supported the referendum effort.
With R-71 on the ballot, the campaigns change their vocabularies.
Supporters of the intent of the Legislature-adopted legislation now seek affirmative votes for R-71. The question in the ballot title is:
“Should this bill be passed?” Yes, it should be “approved.”
The law at the heart of R-71 is about fundamental fairness for Washington families. Of course it should be approved.