We have the AP story on the referendum filed to overturn the “Everything but Marriage” bill passed during this year’s legislative session.
In 2006 Tim Eyman was first to the
altar Secretary of State’s office
with a referendum to undo the original legislation that included
“sexual preference” in the state’s anti-discrimination laws. He was
joined later by religious groups, but they and Eyman did not end on good terms and did
not get enough signatures to get anything on the ballot.
In 2007 the Legislature created rights for domestic partnerships. That bill put into law the rights of partners in same-sex marriages in relation to probate, health care and other issues. No one petitioned to challenge that law.
Those rights were expanded in 2008. No challenge.
2009’s legislation, Senate Bill 5688, attempts
“for all purposes under state law, state registered domestic
partners shall be treated the same as married spouses,” according to the House bill report.
I’ve included after the jump the copy of the summary of
testimony in the committees that held hearings on this year’s
Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Judiciary):
(In support) Domestic partners have children and live regular, full, and productive lives just like married people; however, equality stops at their doorsteps and their paychecks. Domestic partners suffer inequalities as a result of how medical benefits are taxed and how retirement pensions are handled. The benefits paid to a spouse are paid out of the employee’s pre-tax income; for domestic partners, medical benefits for their partners are paid out of posttax income. Domestic partners do not receive equal benefits for equal pay. The Legislature must consider the humanity of every person, including gay and lesbian people. This bill would provide the same rights available to married people to domestic partners without requiring mounds of paper work and legal fees. Domestic partners must take into consideration so many things that married couples take for granted, such as survivorship rights in pensions. Every person has a right to live, work, learn, and feel safe without discrimination. It demeans all children when society says that one family has less value than another family.
(Opposed) If the state extends marriage-like benefits to people
who are not married, it needs to consider extending those same
rights to other loving relationships. This bill will infringe on
people’s religious freedom. Businesses across the country where
similar laws have been enacted have been civilly fined or sued for
refusing to provide services to homosexuals. This bill creates a
direct conflict for churches and businesses, which will be forced
to either follow their moral and religious convictions or obey the
law. The Legislature needs to respect all of
the citizens and not just the vocal few. Marriage between a man and a woman should remain unchanged. This bill will cause social upheaval. It will cause strife and conflict. It will cause a bottleneck in the courts with lawsuits. Respecting the rights of everyone does not mean the Legislature needs to change what marriage has historically meant. By changing the definition of marriage, the Legislature will be making an important and huge shift in our
society. Marriage has provided the foundation for healthy and harmonious living. Cultures House Bill Report – 3 – E2SSB 5688 that have condoned intimate human relations not based on marriage have ended in decay. How society respects marriage is linked to how well marriage will survive. The bill will eventually affect the institution of marriage in a negative way. This bill will cost money and this is not the time for the state to be spending money. Research has shown that children raised by a mother and father are less likely to become delinquents. Washington citizens expect the Defense of Marriage Act to be upheld. This bill treads on everyone who is married.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Ways & Means):
(In support) None.
(Opposed) The sponsors of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill 5688 have made it clear that this not only serves the needs of same-sex couples, but serves as a pathway to the legalization of same-sex marriage. That said, the public debate about extended benefits should not be confused with same-sex marriage, and must not lead to the destruction of institution of marriage. The Catholic Church’s support for the legal definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman is rooted in our belief that the state has a duty to support the common good, and that the genuine differences in how women and men are created are complimentary and provide essential components in the raising and teaching of children. We honor the dignity of all persons and opposing unjust discrimination always and anywhere, we call upon the Legislature to uphold marriage as a union between and man and a woman. The future of civil society is at stake.
Persons Testifying (Judiciary): (In support) Genesee Adkins, City of Seattle; Rachel Smith- Mosel and Brandon Smith; Gilbert and Beth Rossing; Penny Stone; Karen Kerr; and Adam Brockus.
(Opposed) Joseph Backholm, Family Policy Institute; Larry Stickney, Washington Values Alliance; Kim Sheley, Washington State Catholic Conference; Valerie Hartwell, Rivers of Glory; Mike Keith; Susan Bradrick; Sandy Bryan; Diane Eaton; Rebecca Carpenter; Larry Kvamme; Jeremy Schuler; Charles Beck; Renaldo Fischer; Heidi Lestelle; Laura Belvin; and Bryant Adams.
Persons Testifying (Ways & Means): Kim Sheley, Washington State Catholic Conference.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Judiciary):
(Opposed) Valerie Hartwell,
Rivers of Glory; and Brenda Keith.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Ways & Means): None.