Keeping the Facts Straight on Washington’s Marriage Law
September 10, 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.
On Sunday, Catholic parishioners across the state of Washington heard a statement from their church leaders about the state’s new marriage equality law that we are fighting to defend.
The statement, “Marriage and the Good of Society,” was released Washington’s four Catholic bishops.
With just eight weeks remaining before voters head to the polls on November 6, it’s crucial that they know the truth and aren’t scared or swayed by misrepresentations of the law.
That’s why the Washington United for Marriage campaign launched Marriage Fact Check. The site counters the bishops’ assertions about the marriage equality law.
Here are a few examples from the site:
1. ASSERTION: “The new law would separate marriage from procreation and the right of children to be raised by their mothers and fathers.”
FACT: Including loving gay and lesbian couples in civil marriage does not in any way impact or change anyone else’s marriage or family. Many heterosexual couples marry and never have children, but want the bond and commitment that is universally understood when they marry. Additionally, marriage ensures that children of same-sex couples are fully protected under the law.
2. ASSERTION: ”The new law would have a chilling effect on religious liberty by making it discriminatory for public and private institutions to promote the unique value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.”
FACT: The new law does not affect religious marriages, religious institutions or clergy in any way. No religion would be forced to marry gay and lesbian couples, or recognize those marriages. In fact, the law specifically protects religious liberty and faith leaders are free to either support the freedom to marry — as a growing number now do — or proselytize against it. Religious exemptions of this kind are now becoming the norm in marriage equality laws – as seen in New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Maryland.
Find out more at Marriage Fact Check.
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.
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