Saturday, January 07, 2012

Marriage Equality in Washington State

At a Town Hall today in Bayview, on Whidbey Island, State Senator Mary Margaret Haugen was greeted by a large group of marriage equality proponents, as the state legislature is about to consider the issue of granting full civil marriage rights to all Washington couples. This is the text of my opening remarks.

Senator Haugen, thank you for coming today to listen to the concerns of your constituency. We know you are eager to serve us to the best of your ability and we appreciate your commitment. My name is Rev. Kit Ketcham. I am a longtime ally of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/intersex community and have supported equal marriage rights for all couples for many years.

As a minister in this county, this community, and a Washington native, I urge you to support equal marriage rights for all couples by voting yes when the marriage equality legislation soon to be considered in the legislature comes to the floor of the Senate.

Religious faiths have the right to determine for themselves whose marital unions they will sanctify, but the State has no business denying this fundamental civil right to ALL its citizens, as our Governor Chris Gregoire has stated so eloquently. Human rights should not go to a vote, as in a referendum; it should become law because it is right.

I urge you to take this step, vote yes on the upcoming marriage equality legislation, and make our state a place where all loving couples can enjoy the many benefits of civil marriage. Such an action takes moral courage and I believe that you have that moral courage.

Domestic partnerships are good but they stop short of full equality. They are the equivalent of archaic “separate but equal” laws which have hampered this nation’s progress and cast aspersions on our national character. Please do your part to end this unfair infringement on our citizens’ civil rights.

Senator Haugen was courteous and listened to concerns during the 90 minute session but only said she would "consider" our requests for full inclusion in the civil rights open to heterosexual couples.

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