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(109 posts)

Ref. 74 Marriage Equality

  1. As religious leaders serving faith communities in West Seattle, we write to express our support for Referendum 74. A vote to APPROVE 74 affirms the law passed by the state legislature earlier this year, allowing the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples in Washington State.
    We believe in love. Love is the highest and most cherished value we proclaim in our congregations Sunday after Sunday. We believe that the law allowing same-sex couples to marry is consistent with the deepest values of our faith traditions, which command us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to seek justice for all people, and to recognize God’s presence wherever love is found.
    As local clergy, we know many gay and lesbian couples who have formed loving, lasting, committed relationships; some are raising children, some are growing old together. You know these people too – they are your neighbors, your children, your nephews, your aunts. You do not have to choose between loving them or loving God; our faith traditions teach us that to love one is to love the other.
    These couples have the same longing to have their relationship recognized by the state as their heterosexual friends have. While the law allowing these couples to register as Domestic Partners was a significant step in the right direction, it does not carry the cultural significance and meaning that marriage does. Marriage is a relationship that is widely and universally understood for its legal and spiritual depth. We know, because between us we have signed at least a thousand marriage licenses. A vote to a approve Referendum 74 simply affirms the right for same-sex couples to be get a license and be legally married. At the same time, it clearly protects the long-standing right of clergy and churches to make their own decisions about who they will and will not marry; no congregation or clergy person will be forced to go against their conscience.
    But we, whose names are signed below, are led by conscience, conviction, and love to urge you to APPROVE Referendum 74.
    Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown, Tibbetts United Methodist Church
    Rev. Carol Callahan, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church
    Rev Sally Carlson, St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church
    Rev. Diane Darling, Alki United Church of Christ
    Rev. Erik P. Kindem, Peace Lutheran Church
    Rev. David Kratz, Fauntleroy United Church of Christ
    Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation
    Rev. Dr. Mark Newton, Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation
    Rev Gregory William Peters, St John the Baptist Episcopal Church
    Rev. Dr. Lon A Rycraft, Normandy Park Congregational United Church of Christ
    Rev. Dr. Donald Schmidt, Admiral Congregational, United Church of Christ
    Rabbi Zari Weiss, Kol HaNeshamah Synagogue
    Rev. Paul Winterstein, Calvary Lutheran Church

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  2. Thank you for recognizing the true teachings of Jesus Christ. I am proud to have voted this week for a world in which gay people can smoke marijuana at their weddings.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  3. Good for them.

    If only we could learn the lessons of the past that basic civil rights aren't up for a vote. I suspect that in a couple of decades all of this nonsense will seem as ridiculous and shameful as we currently think the events leading to Loving v. Virginia were.

    Now if only we could see a populace as Science minded as a jury from rural Tennessee in the 1925. It absolutely amazes me that we're still treading water on that one.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  4. Peg Morgan

    "A vote to a approve Referendum 74 simply affirms the right for same-sex couples to be get a license and be legally married. At the same time, it clearly protects the long-standing right of clergy and churches to make their own decisions about who they will and will not marry; no congregation or clergy person will be forced to go against their conscience."

    well said.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  5. dobro,
    thank you for the great laugh! is important in justice work to also keep a sense of humor... and now I think I'll fill out my ballot!
    Rev. Peg Morgan

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  6. dobro, I think I love you..:D

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  7. Peg, thank you. This means so much to our family.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  8. I voted for Ref. 74, but it was with the understanding that there might be problems with the part that ostensibly protects the "freedom of conscience" of the clergy. Of course you can put language in the referendum to that effect, but that language will not necessarily control in the event that someone files a discrimination suit against a church. For if something is generally agreed upon by society as a right (the right for gays to marry for example) then how can you stipulate that some people are allowed not to recognize it?

    Consider: Could a white church refuse to marry a mixed-race couple without fear of a lawsuit?

    —Of course that's an absurd example, because what sane person would even want to be married by someone who disliked them on account of their race? But let's look a little deeper, to the question of employment. If R-74 passes, would a fundamentalist church be able to refuse ANY of the other services it provides (employment, housing, rehab, etc.) to a gay couple?

    And how will gay couples feel if the law decides that they CAN be turned down for these services on the basis of someone else's so-called "freedom of conscience"?

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  9. DBP..

    Women can already be turned down by their local pharmacy when they go in to fill a valid prescription...

    what makes you think our nation will tolerate that and not the personal choices of our local churches?

    Being same sex is not the only reason some church's will refuse to marry a couple who asks to be married within their church. Individual churches have been refusing to marry couples for a myriad of reasons for as long as there have been churches. Sad, but true.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  10. Women can already be turned down by their local pharmacy when they go in to fill a valid prescription... what makes you think our nation will tolerate that and not the personal choices of our local churches?

    Maybe will will tolerate it, Jo. Probably they will. But is that a good thing, or a bad one?

    Is it a good thing or bad one that in some small towns in Washington you can't get a prescription for birth control filled because the pharmacist knows you're having sex outside of marriage and well . . . he's against that sort of thing.

    Think about what's happening to our country here and ask yourself: Is this the direction we want to be going in?

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  11. BBP

    The separation of church and state is what protects churches that choose not to engage in activities they consider against their faith

    When the separation intended for churches was used to protect individuals and/or businesses that choose not to engage in activities they consider against their faith,
    that protection crossed the line into legal discrimination.

    I think it's wrong. I oppose it wholeheartedly.

    That is one of the reasons i think that we need to elect a President who won't appoint more judges that believe one person's faith should determine the limits of another person's opportunities.

    but, i do agree that when it comes to matters of faith.. and the religious celebration of a marriage in a church is a matter of religious faith... the precepts of that faith should determine who does and does not participate.

    The great news is that for every church that discriminates...
    there are several that don't.

    And I am happy to be able to say that Christians are speaking out about the love that their faith is based upon and that the trend away from discrimination is improving.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  12. Consider: Could a white church refuse to marry a mixed-race couple without fear of a lawsuit?

    Yes, they could. Much worse, they actually do:

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  13. Right now, I cannot get married (to a man) in the Catholic Church, because I am not Catholic. Religions have been discriminating like this forever, and it has not caused any problems. I look at gay marriage the same way, and I would imagine it will be held up by the courts in the same way. Also, look at the Boy Scouts, they have been allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation in hiring, etc. for a long time, based on freedom of speech, I believe.

    For our family, this is about being treated equally. We just want the same responsibilities and protections of civil marriage that everyone else has - nothing to do with religion. Many of these things are federal, and until a majority of states pass marriage for us, we will not have them (social security survivor rights, taxes as married, hospital visitation rights no matter what state we are in).

    Thanks again Peg for supporting our families. We are so grateful.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  14. have you ever wondered how churches got the franchise on weddings anyway?

    If the church ceremony blessing a wedding was only a blessing and not a legal ceremony.. it is far more likely that those ceremonies would be celebrated quietly within the confines of the church of your choice... where what that church believed would not be so likely to conflict with your choice of mate.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  15. Marriage traditions hark back to a time when the Church controlled everything people did. Fortunately, we've moved beyond that as a society, but there are still people for whom religion infuses every aspect of their lives.

    Wouldn't wanna be them, but I'm sure they wouldn't wanna be me either.

    Anyway, per posts #12-13, I guess a church cannot be sued for discrimination in the practice of its religious rituals. That's probably a good thing, because otherwise Catholics would be suing Protestants, Muslims would be suing Jews, and atheists would be suing everyone.

    The Boy Scouts are a somewhat different case. They were taken to court for sexual orientation discrimination, and I believe the plaintiff's argument was that since the Boy Scouts received taxpayer money, they couldn't discriminate. The Salvation Army has been sued on the same grounds. In that case, I think the plaintiff was a gay person who'd been turned down for a job. The argument there too was that the Salvation Army couldn't discriminate since they were getting government money. As I recall, the Salvation Army prevailed.


    I've heard some conservative Christians say that they don't mind people "redefining marriage" for themselves, as long as they don't try to redefine it for others.

    So you might say: Hey, conservative Christians can still believe whatever they want about marriage if R-74 passes. No problem.

    –OK, but suppose the Smith family teaches their children that gay marriage is wrong and it comes up in class somehow, say at a parent-child function.

    ("My daddy says homosexuality is a sin and YOUR daddies are going to hell.")

    Is that protected under "freedom of conscience" or could little Timmy get expelled from school for that remark?

    Again, I know this is an extreme example, but honestly, this is the kind of stuff these Christians worry about. Rightly or wrongly, they feel that they're being persecuted for their beliefs.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  16. "My daddy says homosexuality is a sin and YOUR daddies are going to hell."

    Children say MUCH worse than that to each other every day. They always have and they always will. It can't be discussed, worried, or legislated away.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  17. Ugh! Typo (you're / your)

    Bad DBP! Bad!

    Now that I've been quoted, I must live with it . . .

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  18. wsmama3
    Member Profile

    Thank you.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  19. NFiorentini
    Member Profile


    Thanks Peg!

    No one can call themselves a proponent of individual rights, while simultaneously opposing marriage equality.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  20. kootchman
    Member Profile

    Yes you can marry a Catholic without being a Catholic. Been there, done that. The local diocese may require you to attend a couple of hours of pre-marital counseling. Marriage is a church sacrament. Why even put marriage, in the realm of the state? The state is now declaring it recognizes issues of religious import? The marriage license for same sex and opposite sex marriage should be a civil contract between consenting adults. If they choose to have it "blessed" in a church, not a big deal. Find a church or clergy that will "bless" it. Domestic partnership should be extended to all couples, and marriage striken from the state language. The state's only compelling interest is property and support of minor children. Eliminate the marriage tax penalty. Two adults at a given income level both pay the same taxes, regardless of marital status. That would be the even handed approach.

    DBP.. sorta.. the church and marriage became "law" more or less at the Council of Trent (16th century?) ... as a church sacrament. The Roman empire, and our western tradition, were derived from the collapse of the marriage regulation from a no longer existing state. The " church " is a late entry to the marriage thing. It was the last institution standing.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  21. This made my day ;)

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  22. NFiorentini
    Member Profile


    " The state's only compelling interest is property and support of minor children. Eliminate the marriage tax penalty. Two adults at a given income level both pay the same taxes, regardless of marital status. That would be the even handed approach."

    All of that is well and good, and I actually agree with getting government completely out of marriage.

    That said, the part that I quoted and the other stuff you mentioned contain absolutely no reason to oppose R-74. In fact, I'd offer that R-74 represents a nice first step towards eventual marriage privatization.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  23. kootchman
    Member Profile

    I am not sure yet if I want to oppose it. I probably will. Seems to me it goes in the other direction. I can't see the purpose of it. Domestic partnership is law now. What's to gain? What "right " is gained, other than symbology? It's another good issue for the state to get out of. Not something to expand on. See why I don't vote early? Weighty issues to research. I want to see what rights are being denied.. before I weigh in, specifically in WAs state.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  24. Kootch, please consider voting yes on 74 for my family. There are many things we don't have access to as domestic partners. Many of these things are federal not state based. And it is my belief that these won't change on a federal level until a majority of states have marriage, not domestic partnerships or civil unions.

    My partner is about to have major surgery in another state. When we were meeting with the team, we had to ask about out DP status and whether it would be legally honored. They kept saying, "but are you married?" It may seem like just a word but actually makes a big difference. Luckily this is a state that honors other states laws for gays. However if we were in Arkansas, I could and would be denied access to Marisa if she were on her death bed as I would not be next of kin.

    It us very hard to share this here, to have such essential freedoms up for debate in politics and hence, the forums.

    We are also not allowed social security survivor rights so if she dies during her surgery, I will not receive any of her benefits. Because we cannot file taxes as married (even under DP laws) we are penalized in this way. There are also a host of tax issues for us that heap financial penaties on our family, the last thing middle class families like ours need right now.

    We don't want to be special or different, just equal to all other civil marriages. And until each state has marriage, I don't believe we will be equal federally under the same laws.

    Please understand how hard this is for our families. I do respect you if you disagree, I just ask that you do do kindly and try to understand your civil rights being up for a vote.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  25. I can't see the purpose of it.

    If it makes so little difference to you, why not vote for it?

    I'd agree with you on the domestic partnership thing if domestic partnerships were actually being legally honored in this state and elsewhere the way they should be. They're not. I have a friend who was denied disability benefits because he wasn't using them to pay his primary caregiver—who happened to be his domestic partner. If they'd been married, the issue never would have been raised. And that happened right here in Washington.

    As to what rights are gained, well, these for starters.

    Kootch, what you have doesn't strike me so much as an argument as a vague sense of personal discomfort. I don't know about you, but I'd like to rely on something more rational when choosing how to vote. Voting against R-74 won't do a damn thing to get the state out of the marriage business, which you claim is your goal.

    All it will do is maintain a status quo that demonstrably does real harm to people.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  26. SeekingEuros
    Member Profile

    Rev Morgan and the 9 other WS ministers - thank you. Your message is powerful. .
    Kdgld thank you for putting yourself out there. Well said.

    I am not gay, but like you, I fully support R74. It is very sad that this required a vote, but I am confident it will pass. I have never understood why anyone would oppose equal rights.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  27. kootchman
    Member Profile

    As I posted many months ago.. I have no visceral objection to same sex marriage. I am not uncomfortable with the issue. I am uncomfortable with benefit extensions that were clearly designed in another era, when a working father , disabled or deceased, (and by convention the mother did not work,) was catastrophic to those children. If in that context, if a married same sex couple were legal guardians of children, I would extend those benefits for the vitality of children. I am mulling it over. Perhaps under the revamp of an overburdened SS system, we should return to the roots of SS.. as not an all encompassing entitlement, but one to protect children. Only child rearing couples would be required to participate in SS. For the protection of children. Those of us who do not raise children can opt out of the system. Then, inheritance law, which is covered by civil law insures the resources accumulated in a partnership are transferred as directed by law.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  28. I voted for R74. Personally I see it as an extension of the civil rights movements. As to the original post. Christianity is not tolerant to the LGBTQ community. On a personal level I can understand supporting them but on a religious level the bible is rather explicit.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  29. That's good that you don't have a visceral objection, kootchman. We've all been hinging on that.

    Rev. Peg, thank you for your public recognition of equal rights, human decency, and acceptance.

    Anything less is nonsense.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  30. kootchman
    Member Profile

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  31. Why should I care about gay marriage? What's wrong with just a civil union, wherein all rights that married straights are granted?

    It might be tempting to accept that, but what if you were unfairly denied something by people who don't know you, people who have the rights you want and take them for granted, yet who feel justified denying you the same rights for no good reason? Even if it's just the right to call yourself "married"? If all your life, people with no stake in the matter got away with judging you and defining what you can and cannot do. People who don't even understand that biology is behind sexual orientation and possibly think it is against the rule of some god they worship. People who think it's okay for them to impose the rule of this god on you. That is absurd and unfair, and I can't believe that our government is even having this conversation.

    Equal rights for all. Anything else is indefensible.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  32. all marriages are civil unions unless they are blessed by the church.

    I am part of a legal civil union that happens to be a legally sanctioned marriage.

    because my civil union is called marriage it is recognized federally and i and my spouse are granted rights that go with our legal status regardless of which state we happen to be traveling through.

    If the civil unions some states create for same sex couples or cohabitants granted all of the same rights and privileges of those they call marriage in every state of our union there would be no need for I-74.

    If you are married, your closest relative is your spouse. If you aren't it could be parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins or even relatives twice or more removed. Your assets.. your very life.. could be handed over to people who barely know you while your life partner is denied even the right to say goodbye.

    Let's stop bandying words here.

    If you want to have your marriage blessed by a church that is your right.

    But that blessing doesn't make you any more or less married than those who choose a civil ceremony... Once legally sanctioned a marriage is a marriage is a marriage.

    Denying other committed couples the rights that you enjoy because you are able to legally wed is discrimination...

    I am with Amelia
    "Equal rights for all. Anything else is indefensible."

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  33. @Amalia & JoB, well put ;)

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  34. JoB, thank you.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  35. Amalia, JoB,
    Yes, and yes to your expressions of truth. One more week to wait for election day. A lot at stake.

    Rev. Peg,
    Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  36. anonyme
    Member Profile

    Opponents of Ref. 74 tread on dangerous ground, IMO. Their focus on heterosexual reproduction defines marriage, by default, as a breeding license. Therefore, any heterosexual couple who does not or cannot breed should not be allowed to marry, and any marriage that does not "bear fruit" should be annulled.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  37. Rev. Peg:
    My intent had been to thank you and then I completely forgot in my post :).

    Thank you and the other clergy (if that's the right word) for speaking out.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  38. >> any marriage that does not "bear fruit" should be annulled.

    –I've been trying to make that case with my own wife for years now. No luck.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  39. I will be voting yes to approve ref 74. If it does not pass, maybe we need to think about giving the religious right what they seem to want. Marriage for one man and one woman, period. No divorces. If they really want to protect the family, wouldn't outlawing divorce protect the family more than denying same sex couples the right to marry?

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  40. Kootch, you are entitled to your opinion but I would urge you not to levy your criticism of entitlement programs on the backs of our kids/families. We should have one set of rules for all families. You can fight your fight against entitlements (vote for Romney) and still vote approve for my family. I would attach a pic here if I knew how. Miws, how do you do that?

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  41. Amalia and JoB put it very well.

    You may well argue that marriage shouldn't be a civic institution, but history shows that it was well before it was considered a religious sacrament—that mostly resulted from the local priest being the only person around for miles who could record that a marriage had occurred; in some places, it required nothing more than the couple declaring that they were married, no witnesses required.

    You can argue that it shouldn't be...but it is. I submit that taking a stand on that question in this context is...odd, to say the least, since it won't do anything to change the legal structure of marriage overall, insofar as the granting of benefits and responsibilities that accrue once you sign the certificate are concerned.

    Marriage, legal marriage, is a civil contract. That makes the ability to enter into it a civil right. A vote against R-74 is a vote to deny this right to a group of people for, from a legal perspective, no reason whatsoever. Frankly, it seems to me that if you get rid of marriage as a civil contract, and create other legal structures to take care of the rights and benefits that accrue upon marriage, you're increasing the government's involvement, not decreasing it. And if you're going to try to dissolve those rights and benefits entirely...well...good luck with that.

    Using that as justification for voting against R-74 strikes me as a jerk move, really.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  42. kgdlg, Wish I could help you on that, but about the only thing I know about posting one's own pics here, is that the pics need to be uploaded to a hosting site, such as Flicker.

    I only know how to post pics from places like Google.

    DBP is the pro on that, and in fact posted a tutorial thread on that topic, maybe as far back as a year ago now.

    Sorry I can't one of more help! :-(

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  43. kootchman
    Member Profile

    I'll leave it blank... neither side has a good argument.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  44. kootch..

    since when is equality under the law not a good argument?

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  45. Kootch, I am sorry my personal appeal has not swayed you. Again, please consider voting to approve 74. It means a lot to my family. Next year we hope to visit my brother in Florida, knowing it is a state that doesn't recognize our DP rights. It is true that having marriage won't change this immediately, but it will set us on a path to a day when we don't have to worry about being in an accident or falling sick in a state that is anti gay, where we would be denied access to each other in the hospital. I am sorry you don't view this as a good enough argument.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  46. The stance of human decency isn't good enough? :-(

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  47. Kootch, why do you think that this issue is the appropriate one on which to make your stand concerning marriage, especially since the outcome won't cost you a thing either way?

    There's a word, and not a very nice one, for making other people pay a price for your beliefs.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  48. kootchman
    Member Profile

    Thanks for the information and perspectives.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  49. kootchman
    Member Profile

    Is this the objective? The state has to affirm a relationship for it to be valid?

    These couples have the same longing to have their relationship recognized by the state as their heterosexual friends have
    While the law allowing these couples to register as Domestic Partners was a significant step in the right direction, it does not carry the cultural significance and meaning that marriage does.

    Posted 3 years ago #         
  50. Kootch, I get that you don't want the State in any of your business. But here is the rub for my family - the State currently validates "Civil Marriage" for straights and not for gays, and that gets recognized by the Federal government while domestic partnerships don't. I welcome you to run a referendum taking "civil marriage" away from anyone, but in the absence of that, my family continues on at a great disadvantage to straight families that are offered the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage. Please consider voting yes so that all families can be one day recognized in the same way.

    Posted 3 years ago #         

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