Gay Marriage | News | Washington

Referendum 71 Approved in Washington State

R71 Voters in Washington state have approved Referendum 71, the AP reports:

"With about 69 percent of the expected vote counted Thursday in unofficial returns, R-71 was leading 52 percent to 48 percent. The measure asked voters to approve or reject the latest expansion of the state's domestic partnership law, granting registered domestic partners additional state rights previously given only to married couples."

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  1. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: peterparker | Nov 5, 2009 8:15:14 PM

  2. This is really great news! Until they overturn it, again, in two years.

    Posted by: Gary | Nov 5, 2009 8:37:41 PM

  3. I remind you ... people are sheep!

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Nov 5, 2009 8:59:29 PM

  4. i just don't understand how "Domestic Partnership" and "Marriage" have become such ideologically different concepts. i live in Seattle, and i *feel* that if this had been about "Gay Marriage" we would have had the same results as Maine ...

    and yes - in 2 years we will have to re-defend this small step towards equality ... sign up now if you need the benefits!!

    Posted by: Dan | Nov 5, 2009 9:01:59 PM

  5. DPs are safe in WA. They would have to mount an initiative to overturn this, which requires twice as many signatures as a referendum. Moreover, 2009 probably had the most conservative electorate you'll get in WA. Yes, 2011 is another off-year election, but there'll have been two more years for the oldest bigots to die.

    The only vote left in WA is over the word marriage. The legislature's ready to give it to us, they just need to decide when we can survive a referendum. They might be balsy and do it in 2010, but I'm betting they do it in 2012 when Obama, Cantwell, and the next governor are on the ballot.

    Posted by: Tyler | Nov 5, 2009 9:31:32 PM

  6. The public are sentimental about marraige and don't want to share it. That's obvious from the polls. A majority support domestic partnership, which is a huge opportunity for us. We should have been asking for that all along. But the victim complex crowd high jacked our strategy, as usual, and forced us to go after something we can't win. Now they can go on feeling sorry for themselves. But what do we get out of it? Zip.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Nov 5, 2009 10:08:51 PM

  7. If we had set out for Domestic Partnerships as the ultimate goal, we would not have anything other than a commitment registry. The "victim complex crowd" and its loud demand for marriage has forced the religious fascists to settle for domestic partnerships, which are far far better than nothing at all.

    Posted by: marty | Nov 5, 2009 10:21:00 PM

  8. at wilberforce.... dude (?) you must be blind, man... do you think the "support" of domestic partnerships would have happened if we had set that as a goal?

    it only appears so because we set our sight on full equality; only then did compromise measures like domestic partnerships become viable options.

    please consider the fact that people actually campaigned and spent money and time against a domestic partnership law as evidence that this is not something most people are just willing to give us.

    please also consider that in either maine or washington, the margins were actually pretty thin. if marriage were indeed just a word, than i suspect more people would have approved referendum 71.

    we have to fight. we have to fight for everything we want to get.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Nov 5, 2009 10:35:54 PM

  9. Hey happy for you in the NW. Unfortunately my partner and I live in Ohio which has NOTHING!!!!!! We have "Equality Ohio" here from the Human Rights Campaign. I got an e-mail from them today saying we should send our reps in the legislature a "Christmas ornament" with our names on it to somehow grant us rights???? PLEASE!!!!! Here is my rant on YouTube...
    I don't know about you but I am tired of waiting for my rights!!

    Posted by: Jim Stone | Nov 5, 2009 10:38:39 PM

  10. @Wilberforce: You have a defeated attitude and that is sad. "We should have asked to sit at the back of the bus the whole time!"

    Posted by: KFLO | Nov 5, 2009 11:19:33 PM

  11. Wilberforce is a tard.

    Anyway, MEH. None of the federal rights are recognized.

    Posted by: TANK | Nov 5, 2009 11:46:37 PM

  12. Wilberforce, I hear you. I don't care what it's called, I care about the rights. The word marriage conjures images that the words domestic partnership don't for people-- that's part of the issue. With the words domestic partnership, civil union, etc., you don't have religious folks thinking that their church has to perform a ceremony. Unfortunately, people don't make decisions based solely on logic. The scientific research shows that the limbic/emotional center is required for a person to make a decision. So, how people feel is critically important. It is entirely possible to have a domestic partnership that has all of the "rights" of marriage. That's simply a matter of statutory definition. Wording something in a way that generates less resistance isn't about conceding defeat or wanting to sit at the back of the bus. It's about making sure that those folks that need rights actually have the rights. Does anyone notice how much time people in Congress spend getting the right name for bills or how organizations change their name. Words matter and the polls on this issue show a greater antipathy to marriage and much greater receptiveness to domestic partner/civil union, etc.

    Posted by: BMF | Nov 5, 2009 11:53:25 PM

  13. Yayyyyyy! Gay Apartheid won! WOO HOO!!!!!!

    I would have viewed this as a victory until I read Mixner's piece and realized, no, I really don't want to settle for this seperate but equal bullshit.

    I'm happy for all you Washingtonians who can now get some recognition and rights, but really, folks, we can't settle for this seperate but equal stuff anymore!

    Or can we?

    Posted by: Beef and Fur | Nov 5, 2009 11:54:09 PM

  14. Wilber clearly doesn't remember when Vermont's Civil Union laws were a huge deal and the gay haters were out in force over that. No matter what we "ask" for, they will try to kill it, so why not go for the whole hog?

    And this law in Washington was hardly a slam dunk. The vote was close and the haters struck out hard against it.

    Posted by: KK Bloom | Nov 6, 2009 12:33:51 AM

  15. It's an historical win, but I still find the percentages way too close. It should've been at least 55% yes, but as usual, they rolled out the church crowd to the polls in truckloads.

    I think 2012 would be too soon for marriage in Washington. I think it'd be too soon anywhere outside of Massachusetts or Vermont, unfortunately.

    Posted by: Bruno | Nov 6, 2009 12:54:53 AM

  16. Seattle is an awesome town...I'd still be living there if it weren't for the dreary Winters. Eastern Washington? Not so much.

    Posted by: Tom | Nov 6, 2009 1:31:06 AM

  17. It is also important because it'll stop similar efforts in other states. Keep in mind that in upholding Prop. 8, the California Kangaroo Court had declared that civil rights in this country are defined exclusively by "the people." Until the U.S. Supreme Court says otherwise, this dangerous legal precedent is now out there for any conservative judge to utilize whenever the issue comes up in another state.

    Thus, the people can decide to remove the right to enter into an domestic partnership at any time. Had the Washington domestic partnership law been repealed, I have no doubt the religious right would've started an effort to roll back similar laws in California, Nevada, and Oregon.

    All these Western states have ridiculously low thresholds for forcing a referendum. You only need the signatures of 8% of the voters who participated in the last election. Since off-year elections always produce low turnout, anyone hoping to get an initiative onto the 2010 ballot will have a ridiculously easy time.

    Posted by: John | Nov 6, 2009 1:58:22 AM

  18. Bravo for Washington state! Now deal with the fuckin rain!

    For those that say, "call it what you want just give me the same rights etc" it just shows you don't totally understand law, nor how legal contracts work, words in legal contracts matter. "Marriage" has meaning. When you use that word a huge image appears in one's mind. And on a legal level about 1300 rights and responsibilities also come into play. D.P. conjures what? It's an unknown. And what rights does it bring? Who really knows. In one state maybe one right, in another state maybe 10. Same can be said for Civil Unions, they're ambiguous at best, and none transient at worst. They don't cross state lines.

    And bear one thing, a VERY BIG THING in mind. Legal documents through out the country are NOT, I'll repeat, ARE NOT going to be altered to have "Marriage" "Civil Union" "Domestic Partnership" all on the same line of the legal document to let people KNOW they are all the same. That's foolish and that's what saying "Same rights, call it what you want" suggests will happen. It won't. Fight for Marriage equality, everything else is second best and I don't pay taxes for second best civil status.

    So, the word Marriage MUST be used, as only that word and none other conveys the desired legal relationship that the two people have entered into. What's more, everyone else understands what that word means. There is no confusion.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Nov 6, 2009 2:14:45 AM

  19. I think the gay community still doesnt understand the public perception of homosexuality. Sure many think its a sin etc, but thats not our main problem. Most dont think gay marriage is a civil rights issue because they still think being gay is a choice. They think we have the same rights they do because all we have to do is choose to marry a person of the opposite sex and the problem would be gone. Its not like being black, or a woman was, both things you are born with and cant escape.

    Posted by: Rovex | Nov 6, 2009 2:23:16 AM

  20. Words matter. I suggest these expanding civil unions laws and growing
    of supporters of "everything but marriage" also need name: But_ Marriage (yes, it's supposed to have 2-Ts)

    Use it in a sentence today:
    "I fully support the right of my gay friends to But_ Marriage."
    "But_ Marriage is a logical first step to gain acceptance and rights, from which we can then expand to other areas!"

    Posted by: RicanGeek | Nov 6, 2009 2:49:04 AM

  21. This is great for Washingtonians (I used to be one) and I am so glad for them. But the FEDERAL GOVT needs to move on this and end this silly (from a legal POV its just so clearly wrong) process of states going over and over this and address how the 14th Amendment is being shredded. Time to end 'separate and not equal' when it comes to marriage and slam states with it. I hope the case moving towards the Supreme Court (probably by the time Obama's second court appointment is in) shows how obviously wrong this all is. KEEP FIGHTING!

    Posted by: princely54 | Nov 6, 2009 6:48:11 AM

  22. Saragorn, your "facts" about what will or could happen are merely opinions. As for the word marriage conjuring up images, you're right about that. It's that image that is causing straight people to fight against legal recognition of gay relationships.

    As far as civil union or domestic partnership not having meaning, we create new words all of the time and imbue them with meaning. Is using different words inconvenient and sub-optimal, sure. However, it IS another strategy. When one loses any contest, one needs to examine one's strategy. The "marriage only" advocates crowded out the discussion and made it marriage or bust. I congratulate them on their work on gay public opinion.

    However, we can either continue with the same strategy or be willing to take a hard look at whether we need to modify it.

    Posted by: BMF | Nov 6, 2009 8:58:45 AM

  23. Repealing DOMA won't help Washington domestic partners. You would think that HRC or Barney Frank would have realized that by now and put federal recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships in the draft bill.

    Posted by: Brian | Nov 6, 2009 9:01:08 AM

  24. No it's not marriage, but every little bit helps.

    we will win. And a lot sooner than many think.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 6, 2009 9:14:23 AM

  25. As others have pointed out, when CUs first came into being, they weren't received any better than marriage equality is being received now. The anti-gay right doesn't want us to have civil rights, no matter what they're called. But once reasonable people understand that the sky doesn't fall when we have rights, they begin to take our equality for granted. Thus, CUs in VT became no big deal, and the transition to marriage--a decade later--was possible.

    What happened in WA is progress, great progress. It will have very real meaning for gay couples there. But it is only a step towards full equality. Straight people don't own civil marriage. Their arguments for exclusivity do not hold water. Separation of church and state is fundamental. If you start from a place of second-class citizenship that is where you will end up. Compromise may be necessary along the way towards full equality, but it should be always recognized as such. There are no valid reasons to deny us civil marriage equality--none.

    Equality means not settling for being herded into a separate category to satisfy those who see us as less than. How a gay person (yes, you, Wilberforce) could interpret that as a "victim complex" is mind boggling.

    Posted by: Ernie | Nov 6, 2009 10:09:30 AM

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