I was just poking around over at the Approve 71 web page, and wow!  Take a look at the list of Approve 71 Letters to the Editor on their Press Room page.  This list is meaningful in several ways.  

First, letter-writing Approve 71 supporters live all over the state (see map), not just in the Seattle-Olympia corridor as the opposition likes to allege.  And interestingly, the reject letters I’ve seen came from some of the more densely populated cities and urban areas, not from some mythical conservative rural paradise.

Second, the Approve 71 letters greatly outnumber the other kind.  Now of course you can’t tell that from the Approve 71 web site because the opposition letters aren’t printed there, but I’ve been keeping close tabs myself on publications from both sides, and I can say with certainty that the Approve 71 letters are vastly more numerous than the others.

With these thoughts in mind, it isn’t at all surprising to me that the Domestic Partnership Expansion Law of 2009 (SB 5688) passed by the comfortable margin of 92 to 53 in the legislature.  If numbers and distribution of letters to the editor has any validity as a straw poll, the legislature was quite simply enacting the will of the people when they passed this law.

For fun, I’ve pilfered the Approve 71 list of LTEs wholesale and reproduced it below, although you’ll have to go to the Approve 71 web site for links if you want to read the actual letters.  But have a look below and understand that treating all Washington families equally is a something that a plurality of Washingtonians fundamentally agree on.  Now all we have to do is make sure that they get out and vote their convictions.So as not to blow out the system, I’ve only included letters posted since Referendum 71 qualified for the ballot on September 3rd.

The Olympian | Friday, October 30, 2009

Ref. 71 offers practical benefits to all

This letter is addressed to those Washingtonians who, like me, are committed to living out their faith and support the rights of the nearly 12,000 registered domestic partners in our state. These are people who seek fair treatment and simply want the same legal protections so many others already enjoy.

- Rev. Mark Dowdy, Senior Pastor, The United Churches of Olympia, Presbyterian (USA) and United Church of Christ

The Bulletin, Gonzaga University | Friday, October 30, 2009

In search of logic: Referendum 71 opponents’ campaign lacks reasoning, student says

A warning: This article does not promote gay marriage. It remains a mystery what person and under whose instruction placed a stack of what the Protect Marriage Washington campaign calls its doorbell flier pamphlets, in the lobby of Coughlin Hall last week.

- Edgar Loya, Gonzaga University

The Spokesman-Review | Friday, October 30, 2009

All people owed fairness

People are not guaranteed rights because they are black or white. People are not guaranteed rights because they are women or men. People are not guaranteed rights because they are gay or straight. People are guaranteed rights because they are individuals, because they are people.

- Nate Clemons, Spokane

Ballard News-Tribune | Friday, October 30, 2009

Approve Ref. 71

Last legislative session I proudly voted for Senate Bill 5688 – ensuring that all Washington families would be treated equally under state law, with the same protections and the same obligations as their neighbors.

- State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Ballard

The News Tribune | Friday, October 30, 3009

R-71: What’s the point of denying rights to others?

Are we so overburdened with happiness in this world that we need to take special measures to increase the unhappiness of any two adults who find comfort living in each other’s company? Joy to the world, folks. Joy to the world. Vote yes on Referendum 71.

- William Breitenbach, Tacoma

The News Tribune | Friday, October 30, 2009

R-71: Nation was founded upon the equality of all

When the American colonies declared independence, they also declared that all are created equal. Despite those bold words, anyone who wasn’t male, white and a property owner was not truly equal.

- Kristin Gogerty, Puyallup

Kitsap Sun | Friday, October 30, 2009

A Persuasive and Thoughtful Letter for R-71

I would like to comment on the wonderfully written, compassionate, thoughtful letter in the Oct. 25 edition by Judi Edwards about Referendum 71.

- Beverly Smith, Port Orchard

The Bellingham Herald | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Says anti-referendum group is hypocritical

I am stunned by the hypocrisy of the reject R-71 campaign. They say that domestic partnership is a weighty issue that should not be decided by courts or the legislature. It must be put to a vote of the people – the best determiner of law.

- Janis Walworth, Bellingham

The Columbian | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Referendum strengthens community

The Protect Marriage Washington campaign has a video posted on its Web site that is so inaccurate it is funny.

- Ty Stober, Vancouver

Redmond Reporter | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vote ‘yes’ on R-71

Please, give everyone the right to care for their loved ones. Please do not help to persecute those who have a different lifestyle. Please do not be afraid to bring about change. Fight for the freedom of all.

- Elizabeth Carlson, Redmond

The Pacific Northwest Inlander | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Basic Human Rights

As we drive around Spokane, we see many signs to Reject Ref. 71. But I wonder, do people really know what they are rejecting? You are rejecting rights for normal families and their children.

- Mary Layton, Spokane

Longview Daily News | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Approve Referendum 71

First and foremost. I am a married mother of two children. With that said, I was driving home from work Saturday when I crossed over the Allen Street bridge to see a group of people. Protesters. Now, I realize that everyone has the wonderful right to do this; however, I was appalled at what they protested.

- Mary Porter, Longview

The Olympian | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yes on Referendum 71 is a vote for equality

Our state Legislature enacted new rights to a group who hadn’t had those rights before. However, a referendum was sought by those who thought the legislature was not upholding the current social mores. The year was 1889. The Legislature granted women the right to vote. Sadly, this right wasn’t upheld in a voter’s referendum.

- Teresa Dominic, Olympia

Islands’ Sounder | Wednesday, October 28, 3009

Approve Referendum 71

Your vote to approve Referendum 71 is your statement that all families in Washington are to be treated equally and fairly.

- Steering Committee, San Juan Island Chapter, ACLU of Washington

North Kitsap Herald | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Referendum 71: It’s not a vote about marriage

It was my partner of 26 years who helped me find the right word to describe the sensation we are both feeling: humiliation. For those fully integrated into society, it is difficult to imagine having both granted rights and the legitimacy of a committed relationship put up to a vote.

- Daniel J Hinkley, Indianola

The News Tribune | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

R-71: Not to worry; you can’t catch homosexuality

As parents of a gay son, we can provide reassurance to those who fear that approving Referendum 71 will lead to the “glorification” of an “addictive lifestyle” (letter, 10-24).

- Gary Klauminzer and Eleanor Klauminzer, Gig Harbor

The Columbian | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

R-71 grants security to families

I am a lesbian living in Vancouver. I am the parent of two children, a grandparent and am “married” to my female partner. I work, go to church and love spending time with my family. The things I want in life are no different than any other parent, grandparent or married person. I want to take care of my family, and have the option for unpaid leave to take care of a critically ill partner.

- Joslyn Baker, Vancouver

The News Tribune | Wednesday, October 28, 2009

R-71: Committed love isn’t dangerous to anyone

As the mother of a happily married gay man (married in Canada to his longtime partner), I cannot see how the passage of Referendum 71 could possibly do any harm to happily married heterosexual couples.

- Helen Holt, Lakewood

Issaquah Press | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vote ‘approve’ to respect the rights of everyone

Our founding fathers stated in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

- Michael T. Barr, Sammamish

Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Google Endorses Approve 71

Google has a reputation for actively participating in policy debates surrounding information access, technology and energy. However, we do not generally take positions on social, legal or political issues that arise beyond our normal, day-to-day business. With that said, there are issues that are so important and so clear cut that we feel compelled to lend our voice. Supporting Referendum 71 is one of those issues.

- Brian Bershad – Engineering and Site Director, Google Seattle

- Scott Silver – Engineering and Site Director, Google Kirkland

The News Tribune | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

R-71: The fall of Rome can’t be blamed on homosexuality

What happened to the Roman Empire? I am aware of very many attempts to answer this question. More than 200 years ago, Edward Gibbon memorably blamed the barbarians and the Christians for what he termed “the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.” My high school gym teacher blamed a lack of physical fitness among the Romans. But in decades of study, I have yet to see any serious scholar blame something called “the homosexual lifestyle.”

- David Lupher, Tacoma

The Columbian | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Extend privilege to all citizens

Why on Earth should I insist my government give me unearned privileges over another taxpaying citizen because I’m heterosexual?

- Jeff Kerssen-Griep, Vancouver

Yakima Herald-Republic | Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Say no to hate and fear

Rallying outside the John Birch Society/Tea Party, I was reminded of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.”

- Mary Milam, Yakima

The Spokesman-Review | Friday, October 23, 2009

Seniors have a stake, too

I am curious as to why so many people are unaware that, beyond the gay issue, Referendum 71 is a benefit for unmarried heterosexual seniors, in that domestic partnerships mean that their hard-earned Social Security, military or pension benefits are not put at risk as they would be with a traditional marriage.

- Ruth Sweeney, Spokane

Bellevue Reporter | Saturday, October 24, 2009

Support R-71 – everyone deserves equal rights

As a religious minister, I urge the readers of the Bellevue Reporter to Approve Referendum 71 on the November ballot. Keep the Domestic Partnership Law.

- Rev. Joan Montagnes, East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellevue

The News Tribune | Monday, October 26, 2009

R-71: Real threat to residents is Initiative 1033, not R-71

Referendum 71 is in no way a threat to families and children. In fact, the opposite is true. What is a threat to families and children is teaching intolerance and the lack of compassion.

- Kristine Alskog Hall, Gig Harbor

The News Tribune | Monday, October 26, 2009

R-71: Tradition isn’t good reason to vote no

Recent letters concerning Referendum 71 have made persuasive arguments as to why we should vote yes but have missed one key detail. The most compelling case to be made for R-71 and equal rights for same-sex couples is that there are no logical arguments against them.

- Rod Whittaker, Shelton

The Columbian | Sunday, October 25, 2009

R-71 is about legal partnerships

I have concerns about Larry S. Bowman Jr.’s Oct. 12 letter, “Where does this law lead to?” Referendum 71 isn’t about marriage, it’s about domestic partners. His letter rails against gay marriage, and yet I can remember a few years ago all the talk was about how people had no problems with equal rights, just don’t call it “marriage.” That’s exactly what R-71 is about: equal rights.

- Larry Didier, Vancouver

The Bellingham Herald | Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rumors of religious intrusion untrue

I hear that there is a rumor being spread that if referendum 71 passes, my synagogue or church will be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies. That’s not true – not even remotely possible.

- Rabbi Marti Leviel, Bellingham

The Olympian | Sunday, October 25, 2009

Support referendum to strengthen families

Revisiting the music of Peter, Paul & Mary, on the passing of Mary Travers, one finds the chorus of her duet with Holly Near of Sally Fingerett’s “Home Is Where The Heart Is.”

- Bob Findlay, Olympia

The Bellingham Herald | Sunday, October 25, 2009

Urges ‘approve’ votes on Referendum 71

Referendum 71 is the civil rights issue of this generation and I am passionately committed to ensuring that all couples have the same rights and protections that I enjoy as a married person in this state.

- Kim Glore, Bellingham

Kitsap Sun | Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Christian’s Role in Supporting Referendum 71

I’m a married, heterosexual, Christian minister with eight grandchildren. I try to be a follower of Jesus, who said that we should care about the least, who challenged those in power and with special privileges, and who directed his ministry of love and acceptance to the less-privileged. Accordingly, I support Referendum 71.

- Judi Edwards, Bremerton

The News Tribune | Saturday, October 24, 2009

R-71: Love is all that matters in families

I work every day with women and children fleeing domestic violence. My work at the YWCA has taught me that all that matters in a relationship is love.

- Miriam Barnett, Gig Harbor

Yakima Herald-Republic | Friday, October 23, 2009

Approve R-71

An Oct. 16 Associated Press article reports that a Louisiana judge still refuses to marry interracial couples. Astonishing, in this day and age? Apparently not, given that hundreds gathered in Yakima the previous evening to hear “Tea Party” speakers espousing much the same sort of bigotry.

- Gina King, Yakima

The Bellingham Herald | Thursday, October 22, 2009

Believes all couples should get benefits

As my own 43rd wedding anniversary approaches, I write to urge readers to vote “yes” on Referendum 71 in November.

- Chris Lilly Backus, Bellingham

The Columbian | Thursday, October 22, 2009

All families deserve equal treatment

I’m voting to approve Referendum 71 because I believe all families deserve to be treated equally and fairly under the law. This is about honoring family values for all types of families.

- Laura Ellsworth, Vancouver

The News Tribune | Thursday, October 22, 2009

R-71: Measure isn’t about redefining marriage

R-71 opponents are disingenuous at best. At worst, they are lying outright.

- J. Matthew Phipps, Gig Harbor

South Whidbey Record | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vote to help, vote yes on R-71

Our ballots have begun to arrive in mailboxes all over our area, and at this critical time in our history, I ask all voters to consider carefully the significance of their vote, the meaning of the act of voting and the importance of considering the outcomes of this act.

- Rev. Elizabeth “Kit” Ketcham, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island

The Peninsula Gateway | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vote yes on Referendum 71 to ensure equal benefit rights

My partner and I of 18 years have lived in Gig Harbor since 1991. As I drive around the area, going to the Costco or the YMCA, I am seeing signs for the reject Referundum 71 campaign. That saddens me.

- Rex Davison, Gig Harbor

The Bellingham Herald | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Referendum is a move toward justice

Any notion that domestic partners are demanding “special rights” is preposterous. The right to use family sick leave to care for one’s seriously ill domestic partner, or the right to the death benefits when one’s domestic partner is killed in the line of duty are examples of rights that other families already enjoy.

- Dan Thane and Christopher Chow, Lummi Island

Seattle Times | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homosexuality is not a choice

Homosexuality is not a choice. I know this because I am heterosexual, and am not at all attracted to people of my own sex. And I am not choosing to be that way.

- Fred Godejohn, Seattle

Seattle Times | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Voting by the Golden Rule

In times of economic hardship, we should not impede the efforts of fellow citizens to care for their own. This is about equality and fairness, yes, but ultimately it is about the basic tenet of faith that you should treat others as you yourself would wish to be treated.

- Cary Toland, Seattle

The Spokesman-Review | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rights shouldn’t need votes

I’ve recently become engaged to the love of my life. Unfortunately, as we are trying to celebrate our love and plan our wedding, our joy has been undercut by the struggle that our gay friends and family are fighting this November.

- Kyle Robinson, Spokane

The News Tribune | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

R-71: Yes vote honors concept, spirit of family

The annual Project Homeless Connect at the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall attracted about 1,600 homeless people, all from our local area (TNT, 10-15). Many came alone, and some arrived in small groups and families.

- Colleen Waterhouse, Lakewood

Port Townsend Leader | Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Referendum 71 represents fairness

I ask you to approve Referendum 71, which affirms the 2009 Domestic Partnership Bill. Why? It represents the fairness that is at the heart of American representative democracy.

- Karen Frank, Port Townsend

The Olympian | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Referendum 71 is all about equality

As a pastor serving in local congregations in the Northwest for over 30 years, I often hear from people who are concerned about family values and strengthening the family. Members of religious communities and others who value strong families should vote “Yes” on Referendum 71.

- Rev. John Rosenberg, Tumwater

The News Tribune | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R-71: Gays pay taxes but are denied equal rights

Lesbian and gay people pay taxes without being allowed full legal rights. So much hard work and generously paid taxes while their families were not protected and their rights frequently denied with heart-breaking regularity.

- Deborah Jordan, Tacoma

The News Tribune | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R-71: Opponents try to have it both ways

I am amused by the “Statement Against” Referendum 71 in the Voters’ Pamphlet.

- Mike Kenyon, Auburn

The Bellingham Herald | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vote for referendum helps support children

Children are suffering because their parents do not have access to the same rights and legal avenues that straight parents are availed.

- Cathy Campbell, Bellingham

The Bellingham Herald | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fairness requires referendum approval

Is fairness one of your values? Gay men and lesbians in Washington pay taxes like everyone else, but don’t get treated like everyone else.

- Pat Fabiano, Bellingham

The Columbian | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Protect civil rights; ‘yes’ on Ref. 71

Chuck Miller confuses me regarding his “defense of marriage” in his Oct. 8 letter, “Protect marriage; vote ‘no’ on Ref. 71.” How can he defend marriage by refusing to let legal adults who love each other not have the same rights that he enjoys?

- Shelby Kenoyer, Vancouver

The Bellingham Herald | Monday, October 19, 2009

Support families, vote for referendum

Please help us keep the recent protections of domestic partnerships, such as family and medical leave, offered both gay and lesbian families and senior citizens by our state Legislature.

- Kate Miller, Bellingham

The Columbian | Monday, October 19, 2009

Senior citizens benefit from new law

As chair of the Advisory Council for the Southwest Washington Agency on Aging and Disabilities, I am particularly concerned about all matters that pertain to Washington’s senior citizens.

- Maggie Culbertson, Battle Ground

The News Tribune | Monday, October 19, 2009

R-71: Measure embodies our founding principles

American values: Equality. Freedom. Opportunity. Pursuit of happiness. E pluribus unum. Diversity. Unity. Thirteen states united into one.

- Annie Russell, Gig Harbor

The Bellingham Herald | Sunday, October 18, 2009

Opposition to referendum reminds of segregation

With the approach of the November election, opponents of Referendum 71 are citing everything from cultural tradition to religious and moral authority to explain their intention to vote against it – because it reaffirms the “everything but marriage” law recently passed by the state Legislature.

- Garland Richmond, Bellingham

The News Tribune | Sunday, October 18, 2009

R-71: Your neighbors just want basic rights

My partner of 18 years and I have lived in Gig Harbor since 1991. As I drive around the area, going to the Costco or the YMCA, I am seeing signs for the Reject Referendum 71 campaign. This saddens me.

- Rex Davison, Gig Harbor

Bainbridge Island Review | Friday, October 16, 2009

Equal rights for all American citizens

Our Constitution clearly states that we are all created equal and yet here we are in 2009, once again voting on whether our gay citizens should have equal rights. It is appalling.

- Ellen Lockert, Bainbridge Island

West Seattle Herald | Friday, October 16, 2009

Response to Ref. 71 article

I’m writing in response to Steve Shay’s article about Ref. 71 earlier this week. I want to say that Referendum 71 is not “the latest assault to marriage” as he notes a member of the opposition stated, but rather it is just a continuation of rights that are already in place, rights that should belong to each member of any life-long committed relationship.

- Lauren Myers, Tacoma

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

Voting yes will truly protect our children

A few months ago, when this referendum was still in the signature-collecting stages, I came across an article comment that has stuck with me throughout this referendum process. I believe it encompasses exactly for what we are fighting.

- Kara Gallemore, Fall City

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

Human rights are not a ballot initiative

Just last year, after living in Seattle for eight years, I returned to California. At that time, the battle of Proposition 8 was heating up. I returned to a state full of hatred and anger. It became open season on the gay community.

- Karen Hedberg, Palm Springs, Calif.

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

Liver and onions

I am a married, straight male. I know that two men or two women in a committed relationship to each other will not harm my marriage or anyone else’s marriage, either current or future.

- Robert L. Stewart, Renton

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

We will continue this fight for equal rights

As we come closer to the vote on Referendum 71, I start to think about the facts.

- Chris Boone, Seattle

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

A little less time preaching

Those so-called religious leaders working to repeal the law securing partnership rights for all Washington citizens ought to spend a little less time preaching against gays and a little more time rereading the gospel message of the man they claim to follow.

- Dan Murphy, Everett

Puget Sound Business Journal | Friday, October 16, 2009

Ref. 71: Yes to healthy families and economy

Washington voters can help foster healthy communities by voting Nov. 3 to approve Referendum 71. Upholding the domestic partnership law will protect Washington families and show fairness to all citizens regardless of sexual orientation, while protecting our economy.

- Kate Joncas and Lyn Tangen

West Seattle Herald | Friday, October 16, 2009

Accept Ref. 71

We are a gay couple in a 16-year committed relationship. We raised a son together as full-time parents. We were active PTSA members and officers. We own and maintain a home together. In short we do all the things a ‘traditional’ family does.

- Dan Jensen and Terry Williams, Scenic Heights (Charlestown)

Seattle Times | Friday, October 16, 2009

Don’t take step backward in quest for equality

We take exception to the premise that providing equal rights and protection under the law for gays and lesbians constitutes special rights.

- Jerry and Sue Howson, Des Moines

Seattle Time | Friday, October 16, 2009

The push against gay benefits

Basic civil rights for all citizens of the state, including gay couples, are not special rights ["The leaders behind push to undo gay benefits," page one, Oct. 14]. The law that Larry Stickney and Gary Randall are trying to overturn merely provides equal legal protection for all domestic partners who are currently denied the right to marry.

- Michael Carr, Seattle

The News Tribune | Thursday, October 15, 2009

R-71: Vote shouldn’t be based on ignorance

Re: “Don’t be swayed by guilt trip arguments” (letter, 10-9). The author wrote that he believes voters should not concern themselves with the arguments offered by either side of the issue. …When was it that ignorance became a basis upon which to vote?

- Dean Uribe, Olympia

The Bellingham Herald | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shares thoughts on ballot measures

Initiative 1033 and Referendum 71 are insidious measures, in my opinion. In their own way they denigrate our lifestyle to the maximum degree if we vote the wrong way.

- Adrienne Lederer, Bellingham

The Daily Evergreen | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Homosexual couples deserve equal rights

I find it shocking that in the United States, a country that has seen so much progress in civil rights, there is such a large group of people that will stop at nothing to deny the rights of same-sex couples.

- Derek Held, Junior in Computer Science

The Columbian | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Accept current law; approve R-71

The state law giving same-sex couples equal rights of a domestic partnership to married spouses is already here. SB 5688 was signed into law in May 2009. And nothing disastrous or devastating has happened. The sky hasn’t fallen.

- Eva Luchini, Camas

The Olympian | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Referendum not about same-sex marriage

For years now opponents to same sex relationships have been arguing that they are not in favor of calling domestic partnerships “marriages” but, that they do support rights for all families. Clearly they have been less than honest about their intent and ultimate goal.

- Desi Saylors, Olympia

The News Tribune | Thursday, October 15, 2009

R-71: Gay marriage would be a boon for economy

After listening to the no on Referendum 71 ads on radio, I am left wondering why its sponsors want us to vote no.

- Jim Borah, Tacoma

The News Tribune | Thursday, October 15, 2009

R-71: ‘Protect marriage’? Does it need protection?

A letter writer suggests we not be swayed by either side but to vote our “gut feeling” (TNT, 10-9). My gut feeling is that “all people are created equal” and perhaps should be treated that way.

- Catherine North, Federal Way

Ballard News-Tribune | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why I support, approve Ref. 71

In addition to protecting gay families who are denied the right to marry, the domestic partnership law provides protection to older hetrosexual couples where one partner is at least 62 years of age.

- Ian Anderson, RN, Greenwood

Ballard News-Tribune | Thursday, October 15, 2009

Approve Ref. 71

My wife and I are passionate about equality. We often remark on how sad and silly it would be if we had been born different genders. Our rights as a couple would be different in many parts of the country. Luckily, Washington already has a great domestic partnership law. Unluckily, it’s under threat this fall.

- Nick Lesiecki, Ballard

Seattle Times | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My marriage doesn’t need protecting, thank you

It seems a little ironic that people who left their own country because of religious persecution feel free to persecute others in this country because of their sexual orientation.

- Maggie Hart, Lake Forest Park

Seattle Times | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Slavic evangelicals should show more mercy

Some of the same folks who likely emigrated from Russia to escape state-sanctioned oppression and curtailment of basic human rights, and to enjoy the American promise of tolerance and freedom, are working hard to ensure those benefits are withheld from a substantial portion of Americans.

- Faren Bachelis, Shoreline

Seattle Times | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just think

As Slavic evangelicals take to the streets with their signs to reject R-71, I have one request: Think.

- Teresa Dix, Mount Vernon

Seattle Times | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sad irony seen in minority group

It was disheartening to read The Seattle Times article of the several hundred demonstrators who descended on Lynnwood to protest Referendum 71…Is there any difference between a dictator and a religious group telling people how they should live their lives?

- Louise Nadeau, Lake Forest Park

The News Tribune | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

R-71: Acknowledge our collective humanity

A recent letter writer urges us to feel no guilt in voting to reject Referendum 71 (TNT, 10-9). We should ignore centuries of human progress, basing our vote on a primitive urge rather than making a thoughtful, informed decision that acknowledges our collective human dignity.

- Rudolph Henry, Tacoma

The News Tribune | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

R-71: Nation’s culture has evolved, hasn’t it?

There was a time in our nation when it was acceptable to force your wife to have sex, when blacks were lower than whites and when women were considered second-class citizens. Children were promised to others for marriage, and molestation was a problem kept quiet. However, our culture has evolved with time.

- Sais Singh, Sumner

The Columbian | Monday, October 12, 2009

Approve referendum to enact law

Referendum 71 must be approved for fairness and justice. We have always had reactionary citizens who think they know what is best for others. In earlier times, those who persecuted others as witches in the name of God destroyed lives and spread nothing but fear in their misguided attempts to be pious.

- Carol Patterson, Vancouver

The News Tribune | Sunday, October 11, 2009

R-71: Same-sex couple shows real family values

Re: “R-71 would help protect Washington’s families – like mine” (Viewpoint, 10-8). We found it both humorous and troubling that our dear friend Laurie Jinkins had a such a touching Viewpoint article about her and Laura’s family on the same day that you reported about the Baptist minister who was making obscene phone calls to a nearby coffee shop.

- Linda Shaffer & Walt Waisath, Jr., Tacoma

The Western Front | Friday, October 9, 2009

Approve Referendum 71

The Domestic Partnership law is about equality for every resident of Washington and it is NOT marriage. The legislators that we voted into office approved an expansion of benefits earlier this year-Senate Bill 5688. Now a small group of individuals want to overturn this and deny basic rights to same-sex couples and heterosexual couples over the age of 62. To vote to deny these rights is a slap in the face to thousands of Washingtonians who are your friends, family neighbors, classmates and professors.

- Nick Milhoan, Western junior, Chair of Bellingham Pride Festival

West Seattle Herald | Friday, October 9, 2009

West Seattle clergy urge passage of Ref. 71

As religious leaders of West Seattle, we have come together to speak with one voice for all families. Religious leaders before us have spoken to end slavery, and to ensure equal rights to all persons regardless of gender, nationality, religion, and race. Today, we feel compelled to speak out in support of Washington’s domestic partnership law, which provides essential protections to families throughout the state.

Rev. Kendall Baker, Retired, United Church of Christ

Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown, Tibbetts Methodist Church

Rev. Diane Darling, Alki Congregational United Church of Christ

Rev. Ann J. Eidson, Admiral Congregational Church

Rev. David Kratz, Fauntleroy United Church of Christ Church

Rabbi Anson Laytner, Congregation Kol HaNeshamah

Rev. Mark Newton, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation

Rev. Paul Winterstein, Calvary Lutheran Church

The Columbian | Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vote for civil rights; pass R-71

As YWCA Clark County’s executive director, I ask Washington voters to please vote “yes” on Referendum 71. Your vote preserves the domestic partnership law that has already been passed by our state legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire. This law expands the rights of registered gay and lesbian domestic partnerships. It also applies to heterosexual partnerships when one partner is at least 62.

- Kathy Kniep, Vancouver

Seattle Times | Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Freedom of self determination

Our country was founded on the equality of all men and women. Why should that change based upon the sexuality of the individuals?

- Kim Driscoll, Bellevue

Seattle Times | Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our species will be just fine

For the life of me, I fail to understand how gay marriage could be a threat to traditional marriage.

- C. Wight Reade, Seattle

Seattle Times | Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Opponents of R-71 selfish?

The Times Sunday front-page headline “Stakes high in fight over gay rights” is only partially correct. The stakes are certainly high for the gay and lesbian community. If Referendum 71 is defeated, they lose an opportunity to gain the dignity, happiness and peace of mind that the rest of us take for granted.

- David G. Gardner, Seattle

Tri-City Herald | Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Referendum 71: Approve

I am writing in support of Referendum 71, and asking my fellow community members to vote to approve the expanded domestic partner rights in Washington state.

- Brian Griffith, Pasco

Bellingham Herald | Monday, October 5, 2009

Urges passage of Referendum 71

If Referendum 71 isn’t approved, it will be a major step in the wrong direction for all Washington families. All of us should be treated equally and fairly under the law. Approve Referendum 71.

- Sarah Hinton, Bellingham

Kitsap Sun | Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Approving R-71 Is an Act of Respect and Love

I choose to think voting to approve R-71 is not only granting equal civil and human rights to our fellow citizens, but is a moral act of respect and love. I recall from my days in Sunday school, of the three important elements in a person’s character, “the greatest of these is love.” I plan to acknowledge that precept by voting to approve R-71.

- Robert J. Dietz, Bremerton

South Whidbey Record | Friday, October 2, 2009

Protecting law means voting yes

The letter by Hal Seligson in Saturday’s paper really gives all the right reasons for supporting Washington families. However, his call to action was contrary. For the Domestic Partnership Law to remain intact we must vote to APPROVE Referendum 71.

- Grethe Cammermeyer, Langley

Tri-City Herald | Thursday, October 1, 2009

R-71: Yes

If Referendum 71 isn’t approved, it will be a major step in the wrong direction for all Washington families. All of us should be treated equally and fairly under the law. Approve Referendum 71.

- Mark Lee, Kennewick

The Columbian | Friday, October 2, 2009

Voice reasoned protest

I’m constantly amazed by the letters to the editor. While everyone should be able to voice their opinion, the lack of logic is sometimes astounding.

- William R. Marsh, Vancouver

The Edmonds Beacon | Thursday, October 1, 2009

Keep protections in place

I love Edmonds. I have lived here for over 40 years and the last 20 with my life-partner. We own our home, and we have great neighbors, two dogs and a cat.

- Melissa Barran and Jo Ann Hartline, Edmonds

The Olympian | Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nation proved it can move in new direction

Vote APPROVE on Referendum 71 to retain Washington’s already granted domestic partnership benefits. This law allows gay, lesbian and heterosexual partners all civil rights of partnership. It is a matter of social justice and moral equity to do so. People of good conscience will vote “yes” with you.

- Barbara J. Monda, Olympia

Snoqualmie Valley Record | Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Referendum 71 should be approved

The Washington State Legislature recently passed legislation, signed by the governor, to expand the rights of those in registered domestic partnerships recognized by the state. …I urge those of us in the Snoqualmie Valley who care about protecting all families in Washington to vote to approve Referendum 71!

- Janet Sailer, North Bend

Seattle Times | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not just a concept of protection

It’s strange to think I can live in a state where some of the most influential people whom I hold higher than myself, such as teachers, friends or future leaders, cannot exercise the same civil rights I have.

- Julee Felts, Shoreline

Seattle Times | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We must correct Europe’s muddled mess

The Times performed a great service in reminding the public to get out and vote for R-71 in order to maintain equality in our democracy ["Broad support to approve R-71," Opinion, Sept. 25].

- Harold R. Pettus, Everett

The Columbian | Monday, September 28, 2009

Vote ‘yes’ on Referendum 71

During the 28 years we’ve been in a loving, committed relationship, we’ve worked at challenging jobs, paid taxes, voted, maintained our home, volunteered in community service projects, participated in religious observances, taken care of each other, our children and now our perfectly glorious grandson. We worry about the economy, our home’s value and our retirement accounts. As senior citizens, we finally collect Social Security and actually get discounts at the movies.

- Harriet Forman and Claire Fulenwider, Vancouver

The Olympian | Saturday, September 26, 2009

Civil rights shouldn’t be put to a vote

The editorial staff of The Olympian, hiding behind an appeal to democracy in “Let the voters decide,” are actually advocating institutionalized bigotry and discrimination. Referendum 71 should not be on the ballot because civil rights are a matter of what is just, not whether a minority can sway the opinion of a disinterested majority.

- Lee Haugen, Olympia

The News Tribune | Thursday, September 24, 2009

R-71: Vote to dismantle unjust prejudice

As a fair-minded and educated individual, I want to tell the community at large about the necessity to approve Referendum 71.

- Mary C. Otterness, Federal Way

Kitsap Sun | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

R-71 Isn’t Just a Gay Issue

Lest the debate on retaining Washington’s domestic partnership law be hijacked by side issues typified by that inflammatory euphemism, “sexual preferences,” we must remember that, in this case, the phase “domestic partnerships” applies to any loving, committed couple that for cultural reasons (if they are of the same gender), or financial reasons (if they are straight and one partner is at least 62 years old), cannot enjoy the benefits of a legal marriage.

- Nancy Frank, Bremerton

The Daily Evergreen | Monday, September 21, 2009

Referendum 71 is about more than gay marriage

While I applaud Peter Wagner’s column encouraging the approval of Referendum 71, I think it’s important for people to think not only about this law in terms of the couples, but in terms of families as well.

- Dustin Hall, Pullman

South Whidbey Record | Monday, September 14, 2009

[Rejection of] Referendum 71 will bring collateral damage

In the waging of war, we call it collateral damage. In the politics of plebiscites we call it the law of unintended consequences.

- Hal Seligson, Langley

The Columbian | Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two ballot issues are important

I believe in health care reform because all people – not just the lucky ones – should have access to basic health care…A “No” vote on Referendum 71 would reject this year’s extended gay-rights* legislation and take away critical rights, including some related to health care, from thousands of families. I urge a “Yes” vote on Referendum 71.

-Allie Denny, Vancouver *Ed. note: Heterosexual seniors in domestic partnerships were also extended those critical rights.

The Olympian | Friday, September 18, 2009

Referendum 71 is all about fairness

I have been a lifetime Washingtonian. Though I have traveled the world, this is the state my family has called home since the 1850s. I am a conservative. I work hard and believe everyone should work and earn their way. I have a strong belief in God and enjoy a country that provides freedom for our religious beliefs.

- Nola Leyde, Yelm

Bellingham Herald | Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Calls for support of Referendum 71

Please vote to approve Referendum 71. I’m not sure why anyone would oppose it. It is not about gay marriage. In fact, it’s really not about gay anything.

- Marti Leviel, Bellingham

The News Tribune | Sunday, September 13, 2009

R-71: Gay rights allies must not be silent

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good citizens do nothing.” In the face of the latest fear-based initiative to strip away human rights from gay men and lesbian women (Referendum 71), it is time for all allies of gays and lesbians to stand up.

- E. Duane Wilkerson, Executive Director Pierce County AIDS Foundation

Everett Herald | Saturday, September 12, 2009

Vote yes to keep law, protections

I love Edmonds. I have lived here for over 40 years and the last 20 with my life partner. We own our home, and we have great neighbors, two dogs and a cat.

- Melissa Barran & Jo Ann Hartline, Edmonds

Columbian | Saturday, September 12, 2009

Referendum 71

Discrimination means you are all alone in the world. You are a Jew in 1940 Germany, a black person in 1890 Mississippi, a Christian in Iraq, or a married gay couple in California (the victims of Proposition 8).

- Larry Little, Vancouver

Seattle Times | Monday, September 7, 2009

For the love of families, support extended partnership rights

Thanks for your editorial in support of all Washington families ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," editorial, Sept. 2]. To voters who would deny me and my family equal rights, I’m not afraid to let you know who I am. – Cathie Bachy, Seattle

Seattle Times | Monday, September 7, 2009

A loving home, a life among discrimination

I will be voting to approve Referendum 71 to provide legal protections for couples and families like mine. My same-sex wife – we were married in Canada – and I are raising two children. Our son is a special-needs child, and our daughter is an honor student who will be a high-school junior this year.

- Nancy Suppe, Bothell

Seattle Times | Friday, September 4, 2009

Washington is a place of equality

I was elated to read your editorial ["Basic fairness, equality for Washington families," Opinion, Sept. 2] encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, upholding the domestic-partnership law, when it comes to the ballot this fall.

- Tucker Cholvin, Snohomish

Seattle Times | Thursday, September 3, 2009

Washington led for women’s rights, now for gay rights

I support Referendum 71. It is fair and correct to affirm the rights of Washington’s gay and lesbian families. The United States Constitution was written for the people, not just married people, not just single people. For everybody.

- Scott Leopold, Everett

Seattle Times | Thursday, September 3, 2009

My marriage doesn’t need saving from same-sex ‘threat’

For the life of me, I cannot conceive of how marriage between two people of the same gender could be of any threat to my 50-year marriage; it doesn’t need any “defense of marriage” group’s help.

- Martin Paup, Seattle