Approve Referendum 71. If you’re eligible to vote in Washington state in November, remember this: Approve Referendum 71.
On May 18, 2009, Governor Gregoire signed Senate Bill 5688, aka the “everything but marriage bill” or the Domestic Partnership Law, a law ensuring that all Washington families are treated the same, with the same protections, the same rights, and the same obligations as their neighbors. Under this law, registered domestic partners (same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples with at least one partner over age 62), and married couples, are treated equally under the law in all parts of the state.
Key rights and obligations in the law include:
- Death benefits for the partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
- Pension benefits for the partners of teachers and other public employees.
- Victims’ rights, including the right to receive notifications and benefits allowances.
- The right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner.
- The right to workers’ compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment.
- The right to receive unemployment benefits if an employee must leave a job to care for a seriously ill partner.
- The right to adopt a partner’s child without paying for a home study.
The areas covered by the law include labor and employment law; pensions, survivor and other public employee benefits; family law; insurance rights; higher education; banks, financial institutions and loan agencies; creditors’ rights and business licenses.
Opponents of the domestic partnership law are seeking to repeal it. Referendum 71 would ask voters whether the law should be approved or rejected. A vote to "APPROVE" keeps the law so that all families will have these protections in all parts of the state.
The Religious Right promptly put together a ballot initiative to strike down the new DP law. They gathered signatures, but submitted barely enough to qualify. For the last few weeks, the office of the Secretary of State has been verifying the initiative signatures. It was too close to tell one way or another whether they would pass. Today, they limped past the threshold of 120,577 verified signatures with a margin of about 900.
Final certification is expected on Wednesday by the Secretary of State. Barring a successful challenge by Washington Families Standing Together, Referendum 71 will be on the ballot in November.
Putting rights up for a vote is indecent. Stripping citizens of hard-won rights is fundamentally unfair.
Please spread the word. Tell everyone to Approve Referendum 71.
The wording is confusing but remember that you’re voting to affirm the recently passed law.
I expect this to be a difficult battle. The Religious Right is well-funded and well-organized, they’re already fired up and angry about everything Obama does, and liberal turnout tends to be down in odd-numbered years.
If you can spare some money, please make a donation to WAFST.
By the way, don’t assume that you’re correctly registered to vote. Please check that you’re currently registered. Check that your friends are registered too.
Approve Referendum 71, for fairness.