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Religious Tolerance logo

Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM) in Washington State

2012-OCT/NOV: Rep Walsh (R) video goes viral.
Voter guide's arguments for/against R-84 and SSM.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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State Rep. Maureen Walsh (R) supports SSM:

She represents Walla Walla, WA and is one of the few Republicans to support SSM. Her political philosophy calls for minimal government restrictions on citizen behavior. She was recently featured in a TV ad sponsored by Washington United for Marriage, saying: "I don't believe the government should tell anyone who they can or cannot marry." Earlier in 2012, on FEB-08 she delivered a speech on the House floor in support of SB 6239, the "marriage bill." It was posted to YouTube; that posting and others were viewed over 2 million times. Two of the highlights of her short speech were:

    • When she asked about voting in favor of same-sex marriage, she said: "How can I deny anyone the right to have that incredible bond with another individual in life?"

    • When she discussed relationship with her daughter, Shauna, who came out as a lesbian in 2010. "By God, someday I want to throw a wedding for that kid," she said.


"Crosscut" in Seattle wrote:

"In response, thousands of emails and letters sent to Walsh over the following weeks conveyed gratitude, love, and support; negative feedback was also received, but in a considerably smaller amount. Some gay adolescents shared with Walsh that they had been considering suicide, but her speech “gave them hope.” To these young people, Walsh wrote back: “Know that your parents love you…they’re just so scared for you." 2

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Arguments in support of, and opposition to, R-74 and SSM from the government's online voters' guide:

In support:

Only Marriage Provides the Security to Build A Life Together
Imagine if you couldn’t marry the person you love? Parents dream of their children being happily married and settled into a lifetime, loving relationship. They don’t dream of walking their son or daughter down the aisle into a domestic partnership. Marriage matters.

Vote Approve to Uphold the Freedom to Marry
The law allows caring and committed same-sex couples to be legally married. Committed same-sex couples are our neighbors, our friends and family, our co-workers. They should have the freedom to marry and build their lives together, without government interference. It’s not for us to judge, or to deny them that opportunity.

Treat Everyone as We Want to Be Treated
Think of your own reasons for wanting to marry - you can imagine why same-sex couples dream of the happiness, security and responsibility of marriage. Same-sex couples may seem different, but when you talk with a committed same-sex couple, you realize they hope to marry for similar reasons as everyone else - to share and build a life together, to be there for each other, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and to make that special vow before family and friends to be together forever.

Vote Approve to Protect Religious Freedom
We are all God's children. This law guarantees religious freedom and won't change how each religion defines marriage. It protects the rights of clergy, churches, and religious organizations that don't perform or recognize same-sex marriages. 3,4

In opposition:

Marriage is more than a commitment between two loving people. It was created to benefit the next generation. Traditional marriage promotes child well-being because kids need both a mother and a father. Extensive social science shows that children do best when raised by their married parents.

The new marriage law passed by legislators did not enact same-sex marriage – it redefined marriage for all, stripping it of its essential man/woman nature and tossing common-sense out the window. Women can now be “husbands” and men can be “wives.”

Our “Everything But Marriage” Law Already Provides Gays Full Legal Equality
Washington same-sex couples already enjoy full legal equality. The new marriage legislation did not provide any new substantive legal rights for gay couples.

Redefining marriage has consequences.
God’s creation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is the foundation of society and has served us well for thousands of years. People who disagree with this new definition could find themselves facing sanctions, as has occurred elsewhere. Church groups have lost their tax exemptions. Small businesses were sued. Wedding professionals have been fined. Charities opposing gay marriage were forced to end services. Young children were taught about gay marriage in public school.

Gays and lesbians are entitled to respect and to live as they choose, but they don’t have a right to redefine marriage. Being opposed to same-sex marriage doesn’t mean you dislike gays and lesbians. It means you support traditional marriage. Please reject R-74 to reject redefining marriage. 4,5

Rebuttal of arguments against SSM:

Marriage is two people vowing their love and commitment together. Same-sex partners shouldn't be denied access to their loved one in emergencies because they aren't married. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees legalizing same-sex marriage promotes healthy families and children. Washington State Psychological Association and Children's Alliance approve R-74. This law doesn't change existing anti-discrimination laws or schools. Lawsuits haven't increased in states with same-sex marriage. Liberty and pursuit of happiness are core American values. 3,4

Rebuttal of arguments for SSM:

Proponents of Referendum 74 focus on what same-sex couples want. But marriage isn’t only about adults’ desires; it’s about what children need. Marriage is society’s way of connecting fathers and mothers to their children. Voters gave gay couples full legal equality through the “everything but marriage law” just two years ago. Referendum 74 will provide no new legal benefits; it redefines marriage for everyone and has serious consequences for society. Please, reject Referendum 74. 4,5

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This topic continues in the next essay ....

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References used in this essay:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Representative Maureen Walsh remarks on ESSB 6239," You Tube, speech delivered 2012-FEB-08, at:
  2. Julie Gunter, "Censured but still outspoken: A Republican legislator stands up for marriage equity," Crosscut, 2012-OCT-23, at:
  3. Written by Kim Abel, Co-President, League of Women Voters of Washington; Denise Klein, CEO, Senior Services; Chris Boerger, Bishop, Northwest Washington Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church; State Senator Ed Murray (D), State Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D), Maureen Walsh, (R) State Representative, Walla Walla, small business owner.
  4. Online voters' guides, State of Washington, at: at:
  5. Written by Joseph Backholm, President Preserve Marriage Washington; Joe Fuiten, Senior Pastor Cedar Park Church; State Rep. Matt Shea, (R), District 4.

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2012-OCT-24
Latest update: 2012-NOV-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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