Accept Ref. 71
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)