Rob McKenna’s moderate facade is slipping. Washington State’s Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate had the following to say about the referendum challenge to Washington’s new civil marriage equality law. Voters must APPROVE Referendum 74 in November to retain the marriage equality law.

I don’t support changing the definition of marriage. For me, marriage is a religious institution more than a civil institution.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it comes right out of National Organization for Marriage’s playbook. As I’ve written previously,

“Redefine marriage” is a catchphrase commonly used by those opposed to permitting civil marriage for same-sex couples. National Organization for Marriage promotes the sentence “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose, they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us” as the “most effective single sentence” among their talking points because it allows users to sound tolerant while avoiding discussion of their intent: banning access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.

The truth is, laws permitting civil marriage for same-sex couples don’t change the definition of marriage any more than permitting blacks and women to vote changed the definition of voting. …What [marriage equality] laws do is extend access to civil marriage to couples of the same sex.

Recall that back in February the Attorney General’s office, at NOM’s request, tried to slip “redefine marriage” into the official R-74 ballot language. Upon appeal by the pro-equality coalition, NOM’s highly biased trademark terminology was removed from the official R-74 ballot language by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee.

But Mr. McKenna chooses to continue using NOM’s biased terminology in his campaign.

Mr. McKenna’s second sentence, the one mentioning religion, is painfully unprofessional. As Attorney General, Mr. McKenna knows full well that R-74 concerns only who has access to the state’s civil marriage law, and is not a referendum on religion (which he should know would be unconstitutional). The official R-74 ballot language makes this quite clear:

Ballot Title
The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.

Should this bill be:

Approved [ ]

Rejected [ ]