Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WA State Hopes Voters Will Say NO! to Referendum 71


Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST) is a coalition group that was formed this year to defeat Referendum 71, a ballot measure that would repeal the state's domestic partnership laws.

The group, including our own Pacific Northwest Regional Director, Kathy Reim, is engaged in a Decline to Sign campaign which encourages people not to sign the petitions in favor of putting this discriminatory ballot measure to vote. If enough signatures are collected, WA State's domestic partner benefits could be up for popular vote in November 2009, and people would have to vote "yes" to keep the benefits already awarded to them through the legislature. The opposition needs to gather 120,500 signatures by the July 25 deadline.

In just eight weeks, Washington Families Standing Together has formed an impressive list of supporters: over 40,000 individuals and 110 organizations, including faith-based groups, labor unions, seniors, communities of color, children's organizations, and statewide and local groups. Says Josh Friedes, campaign manager at WAFST, "it's quite powerful to see that groups who represent such a broad cross section of the state are all united in the common goal of saving the domestic partnership law....and we have not sent a single piece of mail or done any advertising."

The Domestic Partnership Expansion Bill of 2009 ensures that all Washington families are treated equally by providing the same rights and responsibilities to domestic partners (including heterosexual domestic partnerships where at least one partner is age 62 or older) as are provided to spouses under state law.

The list of domestic partnership benefits in WA is extensive. In 2007, the Legislature established the domestic partnership registry and granted registered couples rights to make health care decisions for a sick partner, to visit a partner in the hospital, to consent to an autopsy and manage some property rights issues. In 2008, the Legislature extended these rights to include community property rights, probate rights, joint responsibility for debts and other protections. The 2009 legislation is the third and final law to provide rights and protections for domestic partners and their families. This law allows for death benefits for the partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty, pension benefits for partners of teachers and other public employees, the right to adopt a partner’s child without paying for an expensive home study, the right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner and an easier process for drawing up a health care proxy or durable power of attorney.

Says this WAFST Article about PFLAG's own regional director, "Kathy Reim, a retired public school teacher, is a member of the Sedro-Woolley chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). As a mother of a daughter who is lesbian, she said she cannot imagine a parent ever feeling secure knowing that his or her child is not provided the same protections and opportunities as others. 'No parent wants to leave this world knowing that their children have fewer rights than they had. Taking away rights wouldn’t just hurt gay and lesbian people; it would hurt all of us.'"

Thank you to Kathy and the thousands of others who are taking a stand and fighting against Referendum 71! Check back next week for updates on whether the opposition was able to gain the 120,500 signatures needed to put this up for vote!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be against the gay agenda as it's foundation is of the flesh and is contrary to God.

God ordained marriage the way it should be between one man and one woman. He made it this way in the beginning and it was good.

When sin entered into the world corruption came with it and the institution of marriage became less than what was in the beginning.

Even marriages of one man and one woman became corrupted because of sin, God even willing to allow for divorce for the hardness of the heart of man.

God himself became divorced from his people because of their sins and their refusing to return back to him.

God hates divorce and every evil way.

God has always been very patient with people, giving them every chance to repent and be received of him.

In their condemnation he offered his only begotten Son, Jesus for their salvation. Through him there is liberty from the chains of darkness that has held it's captives and made them a prey to the forces of evil. Blessed be his name forever.