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Refendum 71 is certified
December 3, 2009 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Today, the State of Washington becomes the first state in the history of the United States to pass a law supporting the equality of same-sex partners by popular vote.

The law, SB 5688, has also been described as the "everything-but-marriage bill", protecting rights already recognized for straight couples, such as hospital visitation, adoption, funeral and estate procedures, and insurance and retirement benefits.

Signed into law on May 18, 2009 by Governor Christine Gregoire, the bill was held up for ninety days, which provided time for opposition members to organize and place an indefinite hold on the legislation, challenging it with the ballot measure Referendum 71.

Despite a history of chronic domestic violence by its leaders Larry Stickney and Matt Shea, the opposition group Protect Marriage Washington barely managed to gather sufficient signatures by September 1, 2009, albeit through fraud and deception, in some cases.

Further controversy arose in that this was the first time in state history that petition signatures had been withheld from the public, in violation of policy that in previous instances had made signatures, formerly a matter of record, available for verification by the public. Claiming unspecified and unverifiable threats of violence by gays and lesbians, Stickney's group received special dispensation through an indefinite reprieve by the US Supreme Court, preventing the signatures of his supporters from being released to the public until such time that his case is revisited.

Passing with a narrow 53% plurality in an off-year election, the law was reaffirmed by the public on November 24, 2009, and certified today, December 3, 2009 at 12:01 AM by Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and again by Governor Gregoire.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (73 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuck yeah.
posted by mediareport at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank god for King County.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


!

(in counterpoint to the standard .)
posted by LSK at 4:01 PM on December 3, 2009


Excellent!
posted by dolface at 4:02 PM on December 3, 2009


In related news, marriage registrations are at double their usual rate.
posted by hattifattener at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2009


It's bittersweet. I mean, FUCK YES, obviously - though it's still fucked up that we're voting on civil rights.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Okay, this time we can congratulate you right?

Congrats.
posted by Sova at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it time for all states to put equal rights on the ballot and drop the marriage phrasing? I mean, I don't get it myself, but clearly it's a hang-up for some people. They're cool with same-sex partners having the same rights, they just don't want the term "marriage" attached to it. I know it's incrementalism, but it's something, right? Inarguably, today it'd be better to be a person in a same-sex partnership living in WA than in NY.
posted by billysumday at 4:09 PM on December 3, 2009


Woooooo!
posted by lumensimus at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2009


Oh, and further, I think that this sort of incrementalism does work - in time, the stigma will continue to fade and marriage will be extended to everyone. I know it blows, but barring a Federal amendment, this does seem like the best path.
posted by billysumday at 4:11 PM on December 3, 2009


As Lutoslawski says, it's appalling that we're voting on civil rights, but at least they got it right this time. Good for you, Washington.
posted by Malor at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2009


(eyes blazecock bitterly from the other end of the bar. Stops. Sips Bourbon. )
posted by The Whelk at 4:20 PM on December 3, 2009


(eyes blazecock bitterly from the other end of the bar. Stops. Sips Bourbon. )

I'm sorry as hell about what happened in NY. It's not right. I'm with ya in spirits.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on December 3, 2009


Huzzah for this, but I no longer think incrementalism is going to work (imagine expecting an end to Jim Crow by allowing states to vote on it back when the civil rights movement began); I think it's going to have to be federal, and I think a lot of states are going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. MY EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE: LET ME SHOW YOU IT.
posted by scody at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2009 [13 favorites]


You come on out here to CA, The Whelk, and we can eye other states bitterly and sip bourbon (whisky for me, please) together.
posted by rtha at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is it time for all states to put equal rights on the ballot and drop the marriage phrasing?
The "marriage phrasing" isn't the problem, it's bigots wanting to keep gays down "where they belong". SB5688 was nicknamed the "everything but marriage bill", in an attempt at compromise to ease the fears of bigots and right-wing lunatics. The idea was that since it's not same-sex marriage, there really should be no grounds for complaint, and most of the conservative groups agreed.

So, the homophobes said "oh, it's not marriage, well I suppose we'll calm down then", but almost the moment the bill passed, the shit hit the fan. Turns out it doesn't matter whether same-sex marriage is part of the bill or not; as long as progress on GLBT equal rights is being made, that's enough to bring the hatemongers out in droves and cry foul.

I'm glad it passed, I cried tears of joy when I saw the final results. My partner and I just recently received our Washington Domestic Partnership certificates and wallet cards, and we're grateful that we finally have some security now.

It still disgusts me though, that anyone's basic civil rights can be put up for popular vote. My long term plan is just to be patient and wait it out. Let the homophobes and bigots die out (and good riddance to the rotten fuckers!); by far most of the youth of today are light-years ahead in their thinking on equality.

(Yes I'm bitter and angry, but goddammit... let someone put your rights up for vote and see how well you take it.)
posted by xedrik at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [23 favorites]


:) *sips small batch bourbon at Seatte's FX McRory bourbon bar, savoring the good vibrations*
posted by bearwife at 4:31 PM on December 3, 2009


53% plurality? Odd phrasing.
But yay!
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Huzzah for this, but I no longer think incrementalism is going to work

But. I'm confused. It just did work. I guess maybe you're talking about state by state incrementalism. I was talking about incrementalism regarding civil unions vs. marriage. Because it's been shown that when civil union partnership rights initiatives are put on ballots, they do really well, whereas marriage partnership rights initiatives do not.
posted by billysumday at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2009


It's bittersweet. I mean, FUCK YES, obviously - though it's still fucked up that we're voting on civil rights.

I agree. I can't believe we're still protesting voting on this shit. But still awesome that it passed by public vote. It may not have been a tidal wave of support, and it still isn't marriage, but it passed through public votes non-the-less. No need for senators to vote against the preferences of their constituency.

Sign guy link copied from mattbucher
posted by filthy light thief at 4:33 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Echoing the fact that it's bullshit that this is even an issue, but hell yeah! I'd seriously consider moving to Washington if this keeps up. Thanks to all who voted for this and a big, "FUCK YOU. I HOPE YOU'RE CRUSHED BY A FUCKING IHOP," to all who voted against.

Sorry if this was mean-spirited.
posted by The Potate at 4:36 PM on December 3, 2009


But. I'm confused. It just did work. I guess maybe you're talking about state by state incrementalism.

Yes, sorry I didn't clarify. I don't believe that state-by-state incrementalism isn't going to work, and even when it does work via state supreme courts, California and Maine show that it can be reversed, anyway. So yeah, it's worked for now in Washington state. That's not the same as working in all 50 states, and I don't believe the ballot box at a state-by-state level is ever going to be the path to making that so.
posted by scody at 4:39 PM on December 3, 2009


Huzzah for this, but I no longer think incrementalism is going to work

But. I'm confused. It just did work. I guess maybe you're talking about state by state incrementalism. I was talking about incrementalism regarding civil unions vs. marriage. Because it's been shown that when civil union partnership rights initiatives are put on ballots, they do really well, whereas marriage partnership rights initiatives do not.


Eh, people still came out screaming against it, and 53% is not a whole lot better than 47.76% for Prop 8 in California. Fingers crossed that people realize that those states that passed marriage equality laws didn't suddenly catch fire, so equal rights for gay folks really isn't that scary. Fingers crossed (and signs held aloft, discussions held with friends and family, non-profits supported) ....
posted by filthy light thief at 4:41 PM on December 3, 2009


::SIGH::

New York

::SIGH::
posted by Splunge at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I voted for it, because families are hurting right now, but I hate this bill. Then name "everything-but-marriage bill" really gets to me. It should be the "Sure, we'll give them all the legal status they need to be happy, but we won't call it marriage because homosexuality is still wrong and vaguely upsetting" bill.

It's still "separate but equal" in my mind and still treats homosexuals as seconds class citizens. And it could be reversed if someone can put it on the ballot again and raise enough money to run effective, scary ads. Still, it's better than what happened in NY yesterday, so who am I to complain?
posted by heathkit at 4:47 PM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


If there ever comes a day when Christian families with "traditional moral principles" are actually in the minority, I really hope we'll be done with the whole "voting on civil rights" thing so I don't have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of fighting for their right to raise children in a religious anti-homosexual environment.

although it would be hella ironic
posted by tehloki at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Dear Western Washington,
Thank you for existing.

Signed,
Eastern Washington
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:50 PM on December 3, 2009 [12 favorites]


I still can't believe prop 8 didn't pass down here in California. Madness.

Anyway, huzzah for a little progress on this one. Hopefully this is the first in a long line of much more significant dominoes.
posted by Pecinpah at 4:55 PM on December 3, 2009


Thank God for some good news on the gay rights front this week.

I was beginning to feel the stilettoed heel of Zombie Anita Bryant grinding into my neck after Maine and NY.

*happily toasts the health of Washingtonians*
posted by darkstar at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those who don't know, Referendum 71 is the culmination of years of work by Washington state Senator Ed Murray, currently Washington's highest-ranking openly gay elected official. He has passed a whole series of bills, culminating in the "everything but marriage" bill, expanding legal recognition of LGBT civil rights. And the atmosphere in which he has done that has not been an easy one: Washington's state supreme court, for example, shocked many by holding that our DOMA did not offend our state constitution. Ref. 71 was the last ditch effort by conservative wing nuts in this state to overturn the Murray legislation via referendum -- and it failed. Yes! Murray thinks the progress Washington has made will stick.
posted by bearwife at 4:57 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Voters told Tim Eyman to go fuck off as well, which is good.
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ooh, I didn't know the signing was today.

I yelled at everyone I knew to go vote for this. (and to punch Tim Eyeman in the dick, but that's another story)

I'm really hoping Seattle gets an economic boost from Gay Wedding planning. I know if that was my business I'd call it 'Separate But Fabulous!'
posted by lumpenprole at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I voted for this, attended the Yes Ref 71 election party, and bought a lot of cookies that my local bakery in Columbia City sold as a fundraiser for this referendum. And it passed. And now it's law. I'm so happy.

Washington State Best State.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:09 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of threads about Washington state politics is the Tim Eyman bashing. Except for this thread, where my favorite part is that I got to vote for a gay rights bill and it actually passed.
posted by Caduceus at 5:12 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


lumpenprole: Ooh, I didn't know the signing was today.

I yelled at everyone I knew to go vote for this. (and to punch Tim Eyeman in the dick, but that's another story)
And for good measure, we'll then go punch Dick Timman in the eye!

But yes, I was very happy that my Seattle/KC peeps held off the... more apple-shaded sections of Washington on these issues, and didn't realize today was the signing. Now I can email my frustrated East-Village living sister to remind her that not only is it true that a) the Yankees still suck, but b) my state is better than your state. :)
posted by hincandenza at 5:23 PM on December 3, 2009


I love how the right-wing reaction is that this is "Seattle aka Sodom oppressing the Real Americans of Real Washington".

Yeah, "Real Washington". As if King County and it's residents came from Mars to Earth via UFO to aggressively colonize the world.
posted by Avenger at 5:26 PM on December 3, 2009


There's an eastern Washington separatist movement you know... I;m not sure they;ve thought that through financially.
posted by Artw at 5:29 PM on December 3, 2009


Artw, they'll just get Red State welfare from West Washington. Red states don't need to worry about finances. They think it's the magic of the free market that they can pay the bills, and our liberal guilt gets us to pay for them.

And that's how the Chicago School works. (ducks)
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Passing with a narrow 53% plurality in an off-year election

Oh please. 6% is not narrow. Narrow is the <1% McGinn margin of victory over Nickels. Narrow is the less than 200 Gregoire won the governorship by. 53% is a pretty rousing majority in Washington, especially given that not just King County but 14 other counties voted in favor of R-71.

And honestly, 53-47 for R-71 is a 14 point swing vs. Maine's Prop 1. And Washington did it in an off-year, when the electorate is always more conservative out here. They voted down multiple tax initiatives, including Sound Transit 2, in the 2007 off-year election (which makes the 10 point loss of Eyman's initiative all the more remarkable).
posted by dw at 5:50 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's an eastern Washington separatist movement you know... I;m not sure they;ve thought that through financially.

And the capital would be what, Spokane? That'd be a laugh. Seriously, they're welcome to it.
posted by Caduceus at 5:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's an eastern Washington separatist movement you know

There have been varying attempts to split the state down the Cascade Curtain for years, but they always are forgotten the next morning as the hangover sets in.
posted by dw at 5:53 PM on December 3, 2009


As if I needed another reason to move to Seattle

But thats a pretty good reason.
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:04 PM on December 3, 2009


I've never been happier to have moved from California to Washington.
posted by Revvy at 6:06 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mean this is great...kinda. It's kinda marriage...mostly...but you know. In other news while walking down a sidewalk in NYC today this kid with a clipboard asks me to sign up to help fight for gay marriage. I wanted to tackle him but settled for telling him it was a little too soon.
posted by thankyoujohnnyfever at 6:10 PM on December 3, 2009


I think the name Cascadia is pretty. The west side should have it and the east should be stuck with Warshington.
posted by june made him a gemini at 6:13 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Spokane County (where I lived) voted against the measure 60%. Some other counties had a much higher percentage against. People marching in favor of the bill in Spokane were spit on, had objects thrown at them from moving cars, harassed by the police, and threatened with beatings by passers-by.

I can only hope that the actual institution of this separate-and-supposedly-equal measure will help alleviate the bigotry which surrounds everyone who doesn't live in the population centers, but it really is an uphill fight to be accepted as part of the greater community if you don't have any interest of living in Seattle and adjoined communities.
posted by hippybear at 6:14 PM on December 3, 2009


Grrr. LIVE. I live in Spokane County.
posted by hippybear at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2009


Sounds like you should make it past-tense pretty soon though.
posted by Avenger at 6:25 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Avenger: why would you even say that? It's reverse bigotry, and it's something we've already discussed at length here as being uncool.
posted by hippybear at 6:27 PM on December 3, 2009


Spokane has a cool cable-car ride!
posted by Artw at 6:31 PM on December 3, 2009


Congrats on the rights, hope you can call it marriage in the lawbooks soon.
posted by haveanicesummer at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2009


june made him a gemini- your eastern washington love letter to western washington should really be addressed to the puget sound area.

i didn't think there was any way in hell that clark, cowlitz or skamania county would have voted for this.

p.s. fuck you clark county.
posted by rainperimeter at 7:45 PM on December 3, 2009


Huzzah for this, but I no longer think incrementalism is going to work (imagine expecting an end to Jim Crow by allowing states to vote on it back when the civil rights movement began); I think it's going to have to be federal, and I think a lot of states are going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. MY EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE: LET ME SHOW YOU IT.
posted by scody at 4:25 PM on December 3


Scody for president 2012.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:03 PM on December 3, 2009


Correction: I said 15 counties voted for R-71; only 10 counties did. But those 10 counties represent 54% of the state's population (though, granted, King County is home to almost 30% of Washingtonians).

And it should be noted that R-71 only failed in Pacific County by 100 votes. It's thought the retiree population there were swayed by the domestic partnerships also being extended to seniors.

I can only hope that the actual institution of this separate-and-supposedly-equal measure will help alleviate the bigotry which surrounds everyone who doesn't live in the population centers, but it really is an uphill fight to be accepted as part of the greater community if you don't have any interest of living in Seattle and adjoined communities.

I think in ten years in Spokane few will give a rat's ass. Homophobia will die a slow death, but as soon as the population east of the mountains realizes that registered domestic partnerships affect their daily lives about as much as whether Seattle replaces the viaduct or builds the tunnel (i.e. nada), the bellyaching will cease.

53% is not a whole lot better than 47.76% for Prop 8 in California

Yeah, 53% isn't a whole lot better than 48% at all.
posted by dw at 9:21 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, 53% isn't a whole lot better than 48% at all.

snap. and tears.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2009


And I guess I have to remind people one more time that 12 years ago I-677, which would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, failed by a 60-40 margin. 12 years later, the same state approves what's essentially gay common law marriage 53-47.
posted by dw at 9:38 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


p.s. fuck you clark county.

Hey! I live in Clark County, and... well, actually, I pretty much support this statement.
posted by Caduceus at 10:34 PM on December 3, 2009


Spokane still benefits from the bill. A few years from now, most people will forget their gay panic and it will be only noticed as one more reason we pull young people from Northern Idaho.
posted by faceonmars at 10:51 PM on December 3, 2009


You know, the more I think about this the more pissed off I am about it - especially w/r/t the related events this week. I mean, have we learned fucking nothing in the past 170 years?? Have we managed to make exponential technological and scientific progress and yet become no more enlightened, no more reflective and intelligent a species? Fuckuckcuking seriously! What does it say about us that we leave the very fucking definition of freedom up to popular vote when we know that people are not so good as to be able to universally come to an objective and judicial consensus on what is fair. Good for you Washington (I do mean this in earnest; we needed this after the NY fiasco), but goddamn and wtf.

Admittedly, I grew up in the great state of Iowa, where the 'equal' in 'equal rights' is not dependent upon the definition given to it by the mere opinions and prejudices of the public at-large, but is determined by a close reading of the constitution that starts from (and Rawls would call it the 'veil of ignorance,' which is a useful term but we really just mean not being a prejudice asshole) actual equality. WTF America? What kind of dumb asshole fuck must you be to believe that freedom means "everyone is free to believe and live what and how they choose, as long as they believe and choose the things I do."?(!)

We're in a deep recession. People in our own fucking 'richest' country ever in all of history are becoming homeless in droves while millions of houses stand empty and families struggle to feed their own children while all-you-can-eat diners abound. Millions of foster children are waiting to be adopted by loving parents. Public schools fucking everywhere are firing teachers - teachers for fuck sake - all the while millions and millions of dollars, and thousands and thousands of hours are being invested in trying to keep two happy, loving citizens from being able to say they are 'married,' or have the right to (are you fucking kidding me!) see each other when one is sick or dying in the hospital, or adopt a child, or just actually experience this so-called sine qua non of American heritage and citizenship - equal rights.? I get fucking teary thinking about this shit.

The point of the Constitution was not to ensure the maintenance of tradition, but to create a universal groundwork for a social contract that was amendable to shifting cultural mores or values or whatever. Hence the progressive trend: only white citizen dudes with property and money voting up through women and African Americans voting (and becoming fucking President! Which I am still happy about. It hasn't all been perfect, but I remember what it was like to want to blow my fucking brains out when I heard a certain President attempt to make words into sentences and eventually to save myself I had to just stop paying attention - and I've found myself paying attention in a new - and less cynical - way since the smart guy took office a year ago) - we are slowly realizing actual equality - but it's taking way more fucking long than any of the 'founding fathers' would have found acceptable, IMO.

Sorry; I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But GRAR. Sucks. I have straight guilt. I'm so sorry and ashamed that so many of my sexual orientation are such ogres. I'm sorry. Let's all move to Iowa.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:53 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sorry; I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But GRAR. Sucks. I have straight guilt. I'm so sorry and ashamed that so many of my sexual orientation are such ogres. I'm sorry. Let's all move to Iowa.

See, I don't even associate straights with anti-gay sentiment, and I live in a hotbed of it. It's all about religious orientation. Well, okay, some of it is lack of familiarity and a willingness to buy any boogeyman story which is told. But those boogeyman stories seem to all start from a place of religious bigotry against homosexuals. Heck, some of the biggest supporters of developing a gay community here in Spokane are non-gay business leaders who know that the "creative class" look to tolerant communities as appealing places to live. So don't hate on yourself for being straight. I hear you all are very nice people, and hey! Some of my best friends are straight!

As for moving to Iowa, I could be talked into that. However, I cannot even think of that state without the entirety of The Music Man playing through my head, and I don't know if I could stand having my illusions dispelled.
posted by hippybear at 11:54 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I honestly hope the next step is for some state to decide it will deal only in civil unions/domestic partnerships/<insert phrase here>, regardless of the sexes of the people involved. This is the way it works in Europe, and it works very well: There is a civil marriage, and there are religious marriages, and the only marriage the state cares about is the civil one. You can seek both kinds if you want, and the sundry religious authorities can apply whatever rules they each think worthy—that you must contract a civil marriage within a certain time period before your religious marriage, or after, or that you may not religiously marry one person while civilly married to another, or that you shall do so but only after reciting a certain number of prayers, or that you must be of certain sexes, or that there must be a certain number of you, or that you must submit to premarital counseling, or that you must sign a prenup with a pre-divorce counseling clause, or that you must wed on a certain day or in a particular place or after placing a fish in your pants according to the most ancient quonsylvanian custom. Whatever. But a religious authority cannot give you a civil marriage, and the law does not and cannot concern itself with any other kind.

Because I know that there are conservative American clergy who worry about being compelled by lawsuit to solemnize same-sex marriages contrary to their doctrinal or philosophical views, and I suspect this is one of the motivating factors behind this kind of weird "in all but name" kind of lawmaking. As it happens, I think the point is legally moot in Washington, because as near as I can tell* the clerical solemnization bits have just been extended to domestic partnerships along with all the rest of Washington marriage law. But there are legal points, and then there are political points.

Truth told, I wouldn't mind seeing some state privatize marriage entirely and make it purely a matter of contract law. But this would require (a) considerable local will (Free State Project(s), maybe?) and (b) vigorous reliance on the public policy exception to the Full Faith and Credit clause (and, probably, allies in Congress or the Supreme Court). The state might have to provide contractual equivalents to the other states' marriage laws by statute, and/or its residents might have to accept that other jurisdictions may not consider them married (similar to the situation with Vermont and concealed carry permits). Doesn't seem terribly likely at the moment.

What I would mind seeing is a big federal one-size-fits-all policy (sorry, scody). Family law was never an enumerated power.** D.C. is not allowed to tell the rest of the nation whether cousins can marry, or whether marriage creates community property, or whether there is or isn't no-fault divorce, or whether you can divorce without getting counseling first; it pretty much has to accept what the states tell it. And I maintain that that's a good thing. It puts goverment closer to the governed; it limits the concentration of power and increases responsibility. It provides for localized, more easily attempted, more easily reversed experiments (which, if you really want to know whether/how gay marriage affects children or societal stability or whatever, you have to do). It allows for local cultural differences. It does not prevent people from making stupid laws—I mean, 20 states (plus D.C.) allow first-cousin marriages without limitation of age or fertility, and 19 of those (again, plus D.C.) do not distinguish between ordinary and double first cousinhood, which is genetically ridiculous!—but it can limit the jurisdiction of stupid laws and provide counterexamples to them, and so in general I think the principle of subsidiarity has served our nation very well. I'll spare you my whole rant on how overcentralized power can miserably jam up anything from an economy to a university to Freemasonry, as well as all my qualifying statements about how subsidiarity must go hand in hand with solidarity,*** but you get the idea.

*Caveat: I have not read the entire text of the referendum yet, so there may be a protection of conscience clause in there somewhere for those who are not state employees. But so far, all I've seen is that a huge number of sections of the RCW get nearly identical new paragraphs explaining that, to the full extent allowed by federal law, 'marriage' and related terms are to be construed as also including domestic partnership and gendered terms are to be construed as their epicene equivalents.

**Except that (a) Full Faith and Credit does allow Congress to specify the effect of proving another state's public acts, which is the one thing I can think of that may make part of the federal DOMA constitutional (the inter-state part), and that (b) the Supreme Court can of course accept appeals on family law cases. Both of these allow the federal government to intrude into family law, but I think the Tenth Amendment makes it very clear where the mass of the responsibility lies.

***Despite this phrasing, I am not actually Catholic and not likely to become so.
posted by eritain at 12:02 AM on December 4, 2009


eritain: I honestly hope the next step is for some state to decide it will deal only in civil unions/domestic partnerships/, regardless of the sexes of the people involved. This is the way it works in Europe, and it works very well: There is a civil marriage, and there are religious marriages, and the only marriage the state cares about is the civil one.

That's the way it works in the United States as well. Civil and religious marriage are entirely separate institutions. Clergy are not obligated to celebrate unions that go against their religious doctrines, and the role of clergy in certifying marriage licenses is no more than that of a witness and notary public.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:59 AM on December 4, 2009


And in fact, historically, congregations have often discriminated against civil and religious marriages performed outside of their doctrinal walls, going all the way back to Tycho Brahe being denied communion for his common-law marriage to a middle-class woman. Heck, even in the last few decades, I've seen families almost come to grief regarding whether a union was going to be a specifically Catholic marriage or not.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:04 AM on December 4, 2009


Let the homophobes and bigots die out (and good riddance to the rotten fuckers!)

Homophobes and bigots don't breed.
They recruit.
posted by flabdablet at 5:13 AM on December 4, 2009


So ... they can't get married? Well I guess that's a start.
posted by chunking express at 6:41 AM on December 4, 2009


On incrementalism: I think there are essentially two schools of thought, going back to the black civil rights struggle post Civil War.

1) The W. E. B. DuBois approach that rights and justice should be demanded immediately, and that there it is a grave injustice to say "just a little longer." As King says in his I Have a Dream Speech, "We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now"

2) The Booker T. Washington approach which states that a slow and steady improvement of conditions, allying with other groups, and a slow-but-steady improvement of conditions would eventually make civil rights inevitable and unchallengeable. The idea is that a sudden demand of civil rights causes an equal and opposite reaction against them, even if you win.

Justice demands the first, history demands the second.
posted by imneuromancer at 7:10 AM on December 4, 2009


There hasn't been much/any blow-back here in Canada, and we went from several provinces legalizing same-sex marriage to the federal government doing so over a few years. Canada is awesome, though.
posted by chunking express at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2009


Anyway, this is a nice change of pace after the whole New York debacle. Reading that thread from start to finish is depressing.
posted by chunking express at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2009


Justice demands the first, history demands the second.

The reality is that the second laid the groundwork for the first. Without the black middle and upper class emerging in the first half of the 20th century, there would have been no financial support for the Civil Rights Movement, there would have been less political pressure on Congress and the President to support the movement, and there would have been fewer alliances with traditionally white groups in the movement.

You can force the gears of justice all you want, but they will move with less force if you oil them. And 12 years of gradualism is what got the gears of justice where they are now in Washington.
posted by dw at 7:34 AM on December 4, 2009


dw: The reality is that the second laid the groundwork for the first.

And the reality is that you need the first to have the second. Without the recognition that current conditions are an injustice, you don't have any pressure at all. Furthermore, the emergence of the black middle and upper class was enabled by radical folks like Ida Wells who argued that blacks should pack up and move to places where they can create their own economic opportunities and communities.

The problem with "oiling the gears" in terms of incrementalism here is two-fold. First, patchwork rights on a state-by-state basis are an intolerable and difficult situation in a culture that is highly mobile. Second, trying to "oil the gears" by using civil union language or by bending over backwards to emphasize the distinction between legal and sacramental marriage is trying to appease a faction that won't be appeased, as we've seen with this vote.

Conservatives started picking fights over marriage in response to and in order to block incremental and limited domestic partnership rights. They don't want same-sex marriage. They don't want domestic unions. They don't want ala carte rights granted to gays.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:12 AM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


As for moving to Iowa, I could be talked into that. However, I cannot even think of that state without the entirety of The Music Man playing through my head, and I don't know if I could stand having my illusions dispelled.

Oh no, your illusions, if anything, would only be reinforced! Wherever you are in Iowa, you can always hear, faintly, River City being played in the distance.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:27 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad that my first vote as a US Citizen (at an off year, no less) was for something great that actually ended up passing. By the way, keep trying goodspaceguy!
posted by mikw at 9:24 PM on December 4, 2009


As happy as I am about the everything-but-marriage law finally passing (and I am, I will have you all know, both straight AND a Christian), those who are against it have vowed to do everything in their power to repeal it. This is but one battle in a war, and as sweet as the victory is, our positions could still be overrun by the opposition in the future.

Hmm. I really hadn't planned to use that metaphor when I started writing this...
posted by lhauser at 8:35 AM on December 5, 2009


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