‘Historic day’ for Washington state as voters OK gay marriage | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com

Olympia, Wash. — Washington state has approved gay marriage, joining Maine and Maryland as the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote.

With about three-quarters of the expected ballots counted Thursday, Referendum 74 was maintaining its lead of 52 percent. Opponents conceded the race Thursday, while supporters declared victory a day earlier.

Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, called it a “historic day.”

“We have always understood that there are good people on the other side of this issue,” he said in a statement issued Thursday. “Yet, we remain confident that once people see how much marriage matters to families, they will realize that the love and commitment that marriage embodies only strengthens families, neighborhoods and communities.”

R-74 asked people to approve or reject a state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire but has never taken effect. It was on hold pending the election’s outcome.

Washington is one of four states where voters were asked about the issue this election cycle. Maryland and Maine approved gay marriage Tuesday night, while Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121108/POLITICS01/211080486#ixzz2BpbRHmdz

via ‘Historic day’ for Washington state as voters OK gay marriage | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com.

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Gay Marriage Makes Gains in States – WSJ.com

Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.

In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that previously had been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.

And in Minnesota, where gay marriage already isn’t allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would have enshrined in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.

In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch for days. With about half of the precincts counted nearly 52% of voters supported the idea.

In Maine, campaigners for same-sex marriage said the win marked a turning point for their cause.

via Gay Marriage Makes Gains in States – WSJ.com.

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Brad Pitt Donates 100000 To Marriage Equality Campaign | E! Online

“It’s unbelievable to me that people’s lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days,” Pitt wrote in an email sent to HRC members and posted on the HRC website. “In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples—our friends and neighbors—are worthy of the same protections as everyone else. But that’s the system we have and I’m not going to back down from the fight of loving and committed couples to have the ability to marry.”

via Brad Pitt Donates 100000 To Marriage Equality Campaign | E! Online.

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Jay Michaelson: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage: 4 Points for Undecided Voters to Consider

Recently I visited Minnesota to meet folks involved in the same-sex marriage debate. I was inspired by the amount of energy that people were devoting to the cause, and to emphasizing dialogue and conversation instead of shouting and slogans.

One thing we’ve learned is that a lot of Minnesotans (and Marylanders, Washingtonians and Mainers) are sincere in supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians and simultaneously sincere in their misgivings about same-sex marriage. Yes, there are absolutely-sure people on both sides, but there are also a lot of people sincerely in the middle. If you’re one of those people, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned as someone involved in this issue for several years now — and as someone who married my same-sex partner in New York a year ago.

First, I want to say that I get it. I know many people in the gay community who say that if you don’t support marriage equality, then you must be a bigot or a homophobe, but I know that that isn’t true. I know plenty of people who are sincerely concerned about the consequences of same-sex marriage for their communities and their values — and some of them are my friends. So this is not about bashing people who disagree. (Of course, it’s also true that there are some bigots and homophobes out there, too. But I’m not really speaking to them, because they’re not interested in what I have to say anyway!)

To those sincerely wrestling with this issue, I offer four points to consider.

 

Jay Michaelson: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage: 4 Points for Undecided Voters to Consider.

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Same-sex marriage does not obstruct your religious liberty – LGBTQ Nation

On Election Day 2012, four states, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington will all have marriage equality on their ballots. Maryland, Maine and Washington would be the first states to enact marriage equality through voter referendums. In Minnesota, the issue on the ballot is an anti-gay marriage equality constitutional amendment.

Many of the “religious liberty” or “religious freedom” arguments against same-sex marriage equality depict scenarios using threatening language:

“Homosexual couples will be banging down the doors of your local church demanding to be married in your sanctuaries if this legislation passes.”

This is just not true.

What is up for vote in states is civil marriage. A civil marriage is a legal contract within a state; it is not a religious marriage.

Pastors will still be able to perform, or not, ceremonies at their will. No pastor will be forced to marry anyone. Period. It is true today and, no matter what the vote is on November 6h, it will be true then as well.

via Same-sex marriage does not obstruct your religious liberty – LGBTQ Nation.

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Nordstrom backs marriage equality in message to employees – Puget Sound Business Journal

Nordstrom Inc. has come out in support of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

“It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as our other employees,” Nordstrom President Blake Nordstrom said in an internal email to company employees Thursday.

The email was signed by Blake Nordstrom and his brothers – Pete Nordstrom, executive vice president and president – merchandising, and Erik Nordstrom, executive vice president and president – stores. Nordstrom joins a growing number of companies taking a position on the issue of marriage equality.

In the email, Nordstrom said supporting freedom to marry “will help us create a more attractive and inclusive workplace for our current and prospective employees.”

The publicly traded Seattle-based retailer has long been supportive of gay and lesbian employees, adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy in 1995 and offering life partner benefits to employees starting in 1998.

via Nordstrom backs marriage equality in message to employees – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com

“Religious groups such as Catholic Charities, in Boston and Washington, D.C., have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission — based on their religious beliefs — or accepting this new definition of marriage. As a result, they had to close their adoption program.”

The message: The placing of children for adoption was threatened and curtailed by adoption of marriage equality in Massachusetts.

The truth is quite different. The man who, in 2005, was chairman of the board of directors for Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Meade, has set out, in his words, to “set the record straight.” Meade writes:

“Opponents of the freedom to marry ignore the truth and distort history when they talk about Catholic Charities of Boston and its decision to shut down its adoption services. I’m shocked and amazed that so many years later, they are making the false claim that Catholic Charities’ decision had anything to do with allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry.”

As the Boston Globe has documented, Catholic Charities placed 13 children with gay couples BEFORE the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The children were largely from difficult backgrounds and among those “harder to place,” in Meade’s words.

Taking up Meade’s narrative:

“We placed these children according to their needs and according to the love and stability they would receive in their adoptive homes. Most children — more than 700 — were, in fact, adopted by straight couples, but 13 over 17 years were placed in loving homes headed by gay or lesbian couples.”

Action by the Massachusetts Supreme Court, in legalizing same-sex marriage, did NOT force a halt to such adoptions. The orders came from above — and from across the Atlantic.

“In 2005, tragically and out of the blue, the Vatican ordered our diocese to cease using the single criteria of ‘best interest of the children,'” writes Meade. “They ordered us to stop facilitating adoptions to qualified gay and lesbian households.

“I objected strenuously for two reasons. First and foremost, the Church hierarchy was telling us to violate the best interests of the children who were in our care. It was an arbitrary edict that, to many of us, had nothing to do with what was best for these kids and undermined our moral priority of helping vulnerable children find loving homes.”

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/connelly/article/Anti-gay-marriage-campaign-gets-launched-with-a-3944449.php#ixzz29I40qEzh

via Anti-gay-marriage campaign: Launched with a false story – seattlepi.com.

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For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET — After losing some 30 ballots on same-sex marriage across the country over the past decade, advocates of lesbian and gay couples are encouraged by polls showing they have a good chance of finally logging their first victory in a statewide popular vote.

Polls show majorities back same-sex marriage in Maryland, Washington and Maine, and they indicate a tight battle in Minnesota – the four states holding votes on the issue in November.

“We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet,” said Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. “I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

Polling ahead of such ballots has not always accurately captured voters’ sentiment: In California in 2008, the same-sex marriage camp had a majority, though the ban on gay and lesbian marriage ultimately prevailed. In North Carolina, polls had predicted a closer race in the May ballot on the constitutional amendment (a 16-point difference, according to Public Policy Polling at the time), but the anti-gay marriage camp won by more than 20 points.

“They’re doing what they’ve also done, taking their victory lap before their first victory,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which on Thursday gave $250,000 to each of the four state campaigns opposed to same-sex marriage.

“The poll numbers that they’re interpreting as good for them are actually not good for them,” he said Friday, though noting that Washington could be tough for his side.

So far, the polls show support in the low-to-mid 50s for same-sex marriage:

via For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News.

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Four major Washington state newspapers endorse marriage equality ballot measure | LGBT Weekly

Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition working to defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law, today hailed four editorials from leading newspapers across the state which endorsed Referendum 74 and the state’s pro-marriageequality law this past weekend.

The Columbian which serves the greater Vancouver area, the Seattle Times, and The Spokesman Review which covers Spokane and the surrounding towns, and The News Tribune which serves Pierce County, all endorsed R-74 in strong editorials. In addition, the Seattle Times established a page on its website where readers and supporters can send in photos with people holding a “I do Approve Referendum 74 Same sex marriage” sign literally showing their support.

The four newspapers follow the editorial board decision to endorse Referendum 74 by the Walla Walla Union Bulletin on Sept. 12th.

via Four major Washington state newspapers endorse marriage equality ballot measure | LGBT Weekly.

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