Monday, July 27, 2009

WA State: A Slight Step Back

In WA state, the "Everything but Marriage" domestic partnership law, which was going to go in effect this last Sunday, is being challenged by the anti-gay marriage folks. If the anti-gay forces collected enough signatures--and counting then begins this week to see if they have enough signatures--then the law will not be in effect and will be up for a vote in November.

Here's the situation:

Last year, lawmakers expanded it to give domestic partners standing under laws covering probate and trusts, community property and guardianship.

Under state law, opposite-gender seniors also can register as domestic partners.

Sen. Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat and gay lawmaker who spearheaded the original law, said the state has taken an incremental approach in the domestic partnerships "so we could engage citizens in a conversation and not a cultural war."

"What proponents of Referendum 71 want to do is engage in a cultural war," he said.

The referendum wouldn't overturn the underlying domestic partnership and its first expansion. But it would roll back the additional rights granted this year.

As of this week, more than 5,700 domestic partnership registrations had been filed in Washington since the first law took effect in July 2007.

Click here for more.

Here's the thing: the state in which I live in, pay taxes, and am guaranteed to certain rights and protections as a citizen of a state, regardless if one is gay or straight. This should include civil marriage as well. This should--in a perfect world--include marriage, since marriage is a contractual arrangement through and arbitrated by the state. This is a civil marriage. Communities of faith should have the ability to choose who it will or will not celebrate a wedding with, and thus a marriage, based upon its own theological framework. Thus members of the UCC and Episcopal Church clergy can openly bless a marriage, gay or straight, while Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans cannot openly bless a gay marriage.

Thus in the state of WA, the state lawmakers made it possible for people who are gay or straight to share all the benefits of the state that married couples do, except that domestic partners were not legally "wedded." That is the right of the state to make that decision.


Pace! B

1 comment:

MiddleAgedMama said...

Well said! I think if we could only reframe the whole debate over "gay marriage" into one about "civil marriage" we could all have a much more civil conversation about it!