What is R-74?
Earlier this year, the legislature passed and the Governor signed SB 6239 to redefine marriage for all Washingtonians, stripping the roles of men and women from marriage and making it a genderless institution. Preserve Marriage Washington, a coalition of pastors, community and faith groups, and citizens, has qualified a referendum to allow voters to decide if they want this legislation to take effect. On November 6, Washingtonians have the opportunity to "Reject" R-74 in order to preserve marriage as the union between one man and one woman. If R-74 had not qualified for the ballot, SB 6239 would have taken effect on June 7, 2012, redefining marriage for the state of Washington.
Why should I vote to "Reject" R-74?
Same-sex couples ALREADY enjoy all the same rights and benefits as married couples in Washington under the domestic partnerships, "Everything But Marriage," law from 2009. R-74 is an attempt to redefine marriage and remove the interests of children from the purpose of our marriage laws. We believe that children deserve the best opportunity to be raised by a mom and a dad, and that marriage is our best (and only) institution to encourage that result. Our opponents believe that marriage exists only to satisfy the demands of adults and that children have nothing to do with it. Furthermore, when marriage is redefined there are profound legal consequences to anyone-licensed practitioners, parents, children, and clergy-if they disagree. With over 247,000 signatures of Washington voters asking to bring the issue before the people, it is clear thatWashingtonians want to preserve marriage from these activists who seek to radically redefine the institution of marriage.
Does "Rejecting" R-74 treat same-sex couples unfairly?
No. Washington State law already provides same-sex couples all of the legal benefits that married couples enjoy. The law redefining marriage provides same-sex couples NO additional rights or benefits because they already have the same rights and benefits as married couples in Washington. Rather, if R-74 were to be approved, marriage would be redefined for ALL Washingtonians. Common sense terms like "husband" and "wife" will no longer be used.
How would redefining marriage affect traditional marriage?
It is a common myth that somehow same-sex marriage can exist alongside traditional marriage. The truth is, when marriage is redefined to be a genderless institution, marriage is redefined for everyone and anyone who disagrees is at odds with the law.
If marriage is redefined in Washington State, would there be legal consequences to those who disagree?
If marriage is redefined in Washington, those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman would be (a) legally liable under the discrimination laws (b) or could face legal action. Refusal to accommodate and recognize same-sex "marriages" would be the equivalent of racial discrimination. Not only will the law penalize traditional marriage supporters, but also the power of government will work to promote this belief throughout the culture. Business owners, licensed practitioners, non-profit organizations, or parents with children in public school would all be forced to comply with the new genderless definition of marriage.
How would redefining marriage affect children?
When marriage is redefined to be a genderless institution, children are the ones who suffer. In Massachusetts (where same-sex marriage has been legalized) children as young as second grade are taught about homosexual lifestyles in class. The court has ruled that parents have no right to opt their children out of such instruction.
Redefining marriage would mean that more children would grow up in homes that diminish the vital, unique roles of mothers and fathers. While death and divorce too often prevent it, the ideal is for children to be raised by their married mother and father. Society should work to encourage the stable environment that traditional marriage gives children. Marriage between one man and one woman has stood the test of time for thousands of years and has proven to be what children need to function best. Are we really willing to subject our children to a societal test just so as to accommodate the desires of adults?
Please make every effort to inform voters about the importance of preserving marriage in Washington.