Discredited Claims Dominate Marriage Equality Opponents’ First Washington TV Ad
October 12, 2012 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
This post comes from HRC Regional Field Director Tony Wagner. He is working with Washington United for Marriage, the campaign working to defend marriage equality at the ballot box in November.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that is working to deny marriage equality to committed, loving couples in the state, has released its first TV ad in Seattle, Spokane and Yakima. No surprise - the ad is filled with the same tired, discredited and misleading arguments about what would change if voters approve Referendum 74.
“Referendum 74 is not about equality,” a woman says in the ad. “Gays and lesbians already have the same legal rights as married couples.”
While domestic partnerships are legal in Washington, states that have passed such laws have found them to be fundamentally unequal and harmful. [See here, here, and here.] As the Supreme Court of Connecticut wrote in 2008 when it struck down a statute that prohibited same-sex marriage, civil unions and marriage “are by no means ‘equal.’” The court explained in its opinion: “Despite the truly laudable effort of the legislature in equalizing the legal rights afforded same sex and opposite sex couples, there is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage.”
“R74 redefines marriage,” the ad says. “But marriage is more than a commitment between adults. It was created for the care and well-being of the next generation.”
According to the U.S. Census, same-sex couples are raising more than 250,000 children in this country. And those children - like all children - deserve the protections that come with allowing their parents to marry.
The ad finishes up with a good old scare tactic: “When laws like 74 have occurred elsewhere, people who disagree have faced lawsuits, fines, and punishment.”
This claim is also utterly false. A Seattle Times national investigation “failed to turn up any evidence that same-sex marriage had produced a rash of suits involving businesspeople.” The newspaper “also checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.”
We expect more of this from our opponents in the coming weeks. We believe these tactics won’t work anymore, because voters understand that marriage equality is about fairness.
Join us today in our effort to defend marriage equality.
HRC is proud to have been a founding member of the campaign to pass marriage equality in Washington State, working side-by-side with state partners. You can sign up here to volunteer with HRC to help mobilize supporters of marriage equality in Washington or donate to HRC’s special fund to direct 100 percent of your contribution to Approve Referendum 74.