Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Washington: Referendum 74 Final Language Set

You may recall that previously I commented about the draft language of Washington's Referendum 74, a ballot measure which seeks to overturn that state's recently enacted marriage equality law. The heterosexual supremacist Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna (who just happens to be running for Governor) had issued language which included the homophobic concept of "redefine marriage."

Happily, that original draft language was challenged and today new language was released which is more neutral:
Ballot TitleThe 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. [10 words]
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. [30 words]
Ballot Measure SummaryThis bill allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses. After 2014, existing domestic partnerships are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child-placement. [75 words]
This referendum will be one of four ballot measures involving marriage equality in November 2012. In Maine, Washington and Maryland if the voters vote YES (or APPROVE) they will be legalizing marriage equality. If they vote No they will be returning to the status quo (which is no marriage equality in those states, but comprehensive domestic partnerships in Washington). In Minnesota if the voters vote YES they will insert a ban on marriage equality in the state constitution while if they vote NO same-sex marriage will continue to be banned by statute.

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