Accept Ref. 71

Dear Editor,

We are a gay couple in a 16-year committed relationship.  We raised a son together as full-time parents.  We were active PTSA members and officers.  We own and maintain a home together. 

In short we do all the things a ‘traditional’ family does.  Ref. 71 allows committed homosexual couples to have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples.  Those who seek to reject Ref. 71 claim that to grant us these rights will undermine marriage and weaken families. We strongly disagree.

Protect Marriage Washington (PMW) claims in their ‘talking points’ that children raised in ‘traditional’ families are healthier emotionally and physically than those raised by non-traditional families. 

Children are damaged emotionally by those in society who perpetuate the message that ‘non-traditional’ families are abnormal or wrong.  It is the sense of difference caused in part by the current lack of equal rights for homosexual couples that is the problem--not the sexual orientation of the parents.

PMW also claims that criminalization of free speech and ‘anti-bullying’ laws will follow the passage of Ref. 71, citing a Canadian bill C-250.  In the United States, the First Amendment would clearly make any such legislation illegal—at least to the point of expressing an opinion versus making a threat. 

It is particularly ironic that a possible infringement of First Amendment free speech rights is claimed while using religious views about marriage as the foundation for the argument that homosexual couples should be denied rights on par with civil marriage.  We will ignore the implication that those who seek to reject Ref. 71 believe it is acceptable to bully homosexuals.

PMW’s talking points close with the following statement:

“Homosexuals have the right to live as they choose. They do not have a right to redefine marriage for all of us. Marriage is not a special interest!” 

Those who support Ref. 71 do not want to “redefine” marriage.  We seek the same rights and responsibilities in our relationships as those available to heterosexual couples. 

If our society is strengthened by couples committing to each other in a contract as strong as marriage, expanding the rights and responsibilities of marriage to domestic partnerships will be a good thing for us all.

Please vote to accept R71.
Dan Jensen and Terry Williams
Scenic Heights (Charlestown)

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Dan and Terry's letter

Thank you for sharing your personal testament with us all. It is surprising and scary how many people do not understand what Ref. 71 is about. Your letter and your courage in writing it put a human face to it, which is the essence of this justice issue.

I believe that those who are most adament against gay and lesbian rights will remain so unless they encounter a significant emotional experience, like a dear friend, co-worker or a son or daughter coming out as gay or lesbian. Then the struggle will be between fear and love, between thought and heart. If love is stronger, then the need to make judgments about other people may change.

Our spiritual lives are measured by the degree to which we can relax, be centered, seek understanding rather than judgment, and act out of compassion. I hope that at least 51% of the voters remember that when they fill out their ballots.

Dan and Terry's Letter

What ideal parents you represent. Your son is a lucky boy indeed. And thank you for reminding me--as a parent-- of how very, very important it is to vote a strong "Yes" on Referendum #71. Your letter is an act of integrity and courage. You are correct on every point.

Couldn't have said it better myself

Thank you- very well written letter. Like the subject states...couldn't have said it better myself. Civil rights are a beautiful thing.