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Washington Senate says yes to equality

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

Tonight the Washington State Senate voted with a bipartisan majority to recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples: 28 – 21.

Now it goes to the House where passage is nearly certain and to Governor Gregoire for signature.

Anti-gays will collect signatures to get it on the ballot, but that is all a possible future and tonight we rejoice.

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Theo
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

This is awesome. It looks like all but one of the five undecideds came down our way. The hard part is still ahead with the referendum, but hopefully everyone will understand that WA and ME are the key battles to win this year and will pony up the money and time accordingly.

BTW, Timothy, what happened in NH? There is absolutely no news. It is bizarre that this controversial vote was supposed to happen today and there is no coverage. Even if it got postponed, I would have expected some coverage of that.

PC
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

I’m proud to be a Washingtonian at the moment, although I know this will end up on the ballot in November – and I’m not overly confident about that.

Theo
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

The Republican crossover was just over 18% of the GOP Senate caucus, or 4 out of 22. That is much better than the 12.5% (4 out of 32) crossover rate in the NY Senate. Apparently, NOM’s billboards and threats against the NY 4 and their pledge to spend $250K to punish GOP legislators in WA has not had the desired effect.

WMDKitty
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

So proud of my state right now!

PC
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

One thing that jumps out to me is the final vote. It was expected to be 25-24 (with fingers crossed at that). For it to end up 28-21 is very refreshing.

Lucrece
February 1st, 2012 | LINK

An 18% turnover for Republicans in the state of WASHINGTON is still pathetic…Start ramping up that evolution, please. Really, being an obtuse heterosexist need not be a defining trait of your party.

Ray
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Right On Washington! Congratulations!

Stefan
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

We won the referendum back in 2009 with 53.15% of the vote. While that was with domestic partnerships and not marriage, it was also an off year election, and 3 years is a long time on an issue like gay marriage.

Richard Rush
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Let’s not forget how few years it’s been since we could not have imagined outcomes like this from a legislature. The same will undoubtedly become true soon for referendums.

I wonder how long it will be until God’s finest give up and move on to another group to persecute. After they could no longer get away with persecuting the Jews, they lucked out and found the homos, and thus life was still good. So, who’s next? It may be tempting to imagine that they might redirect their resources to a crusade that actually benefits people, but that’s not who they are. They are programmed to persecute (in the name of love, of course).

Theo
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

@Stefan:

It is hard to predict off of the 2009 vote. You have to make adjustments in our favor and against. 2009 was an off-year with an older, more conservative electorate and was generally a pro-GOP election. So 2012 compares favorably. And 3 years have passed, in which public opinion has shifted our way and during which time thousands of septugenarian and octogenarian voters have passed on. WA should have shifted faster than most other states, because the existence of civil unions spurs more rapid growth in support for marriage.

On the other hand, that vote was about civil unions, which typically polls 10-20 points better than marriage on average. And the opposition in 2009 was a joke. They had no serious money, no professional campaign consultant and ran no TV ads. This time we will get the full Frank Schubert-run opposition campaign.

So after factoring in all of these positives and negatives, the outcome is uncertain. But I think that it is a good enough prospect for a win that it is worth the attempt. If they can engage Frank Schubert and win, it will destroy NOM and demoralize its 5 major funders.

Ben in Oakland
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

If there is a referenduM, the outcome will very much depend on whether our side does one of these weak-tea,kumbaya campaignS, or starts talking seriously about religion, bigotry, children, and the lies the other side is willing to tell.

It reminds me of the punchLine Tao that old joke: how many Frenchmen does it take to defeNd Paris?

Answer: No one knows. It’s never been tried.

MattNYC
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

BiO,

LOL! Amazingly I have never heard that one. I will start using it immediately :)

MattNYC
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

P.S. Congrats to Washington State! Now just to make so all the states between NY and WA (ALL) get Marriage Equality.

Theo–The last I heard in NH is that the Leadership was not going to allow a vote.

Ben In Oakland
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

You’re welcome, Matt.

I’m dead serious about this. WA is the perfect place to do a REAL campaign. I wrote extensively about this during the prop 8 campaign, trying to get ANYONE to listen to me. We lost in california becuase of the insistence on using tactics that have failed miserably in 31 elections.

Let’s not show gay people who can talk about why marriage is important to them. Let’s not talk about children. Let’s not talk about religion. Let’s avoid the obvious. Let’s just be nice and bland and stay in the closet.

Ben In Oakland
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

This the editorial that i wrote that was published in the Bay Area reporter around July 2008.

“To begin with, I am no one in particular– just a happy gay man who hopes my marriage will survive the election. I am politically aware, knowledgeable on gay issues, as out as I can be, and possess a decent understanding of humanity. I have no political axe to grind.

After the No on 8 kickoff, I spoke briefly to a man who is very high up in gay politics. I asked if they were going to repeat the campaign against Prop. 22: talking about being nice, tolerance, freedom, etc. Or, would they deal with the substantive issues of anti-gay prejudice, and the social, financial, and legal impact on gay people, especially those with children, of not having marriage available? He responded that the focus groups had shown that undecided voters respond best to the former approach, and that would be the emphasis in order to move those voters.

“Do you mean to say that you are going to fight an anti-gay marriage initiative without showing any gay people or even talking about marriage?” While conceding that personal stories and real people are relevant, he repeated what the focus groups show, and that political processes like phone banks will trump personal stories. Liberal tolerance will be the message.

I pointed out some things to him. A smart friend of mine saw the anti-8 ad where a straight bride is continually prevented from getting to her wedding. Until she got to the very end and saw the No on 8 message, she had no idea what it was about. She reasonably wondered why a heterosexual wedding was featured when the discussion is about gay people. I told him of my experience against the Briggs Initiative thirty years ago, when we were fighting the invisibility of the closet as well as that hateful legislation. The public could see real gay people, not the phantasms of the rabid Right. And that reality moved them.

I also pointed out that this strategy has been tried repeatedly, and possibly except for Arizona in 2006, it has yet to work. It failed miserably against Prop. 22. Now, I am not immersed in political culture. And I know that there is far more to politics than merely presenting issues and people voting. The politico may well be right, and I, quite wrong. Though his approach has merit, it is very troubling to me. It smells uncomfortably of the closet, which I have long maintained is the real enemy, not the Radical Right. It tells us to be invisible, not to talk about our lives and the REAL issues we face, lest we offend some undecided voter who needs to be manipulated into doing the right thing.

It avoids the larger issue of anti-gay prejudice, an apparently invisible 800 pound lavender gorilla. Research and experience show that people who know gay people tend not to vote against them. If we do not show gay people, we remain a faceless, menacing other, instead of friend, neighbor, or family. It is easy to vote against someone who is invisible. This was the lesson of Briggs and Prop.22.

I can see producing commercials featuring pretty straight girls. But why are we not also showing the couple who have been together for forty years, and who, because they cannot marry, are not eligible for each other’s pensions, guaranteeing one of them an old age of poverty? Why not show the two women who are raising their children, children who deserve the same protections that marriage would bring their family as it does their hetero counterparts? Why are we not showing the minister marrying two men in their church, surrounded by their happy, cheering families? Why are we not showing indignant Rabbis and Episcopal, UCC, and other ministers who don’t want a few denominations telling them what to do? Why are we not showing the man who nursed his partner through a heart attack? Why are we showing anything but us?

I cannot insist that I am right, but my life’s experience tells me I am. And telling the truth, especially in the face of so much hate and lies, is never a mistake. What if we lost this election because undecided voters say, “I voted yes because I don’t know any gay people, or anything about them. And I didn’t get that commercial.”

Which brings me to my final point. If you want to do the minimum against Prop. 8, unless your physical safety is an issue, COME OUT NOW– especially to your family and friends. Not eventually, not next month, but NOW. Ask those people to vote NO on 8 for your sake, or, if they cannot vote no, at least, not to vote on it.

Be the change that you would see in the world. This will be your gift to the future.

Stefan
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

“They had no serious money, no professional campaign consultant and ran no TV ads. This time we will get the full Frank Schubert-run opposition campaign.”

With campaigns in multiple states Schubert may have to select his battles carefully…

Either way I really think that the same arguments that they used before aren’t going to be as effective. You can only say something so much, and when it doesn’t come true, moderate and reasonable people will start to doubt it (obviously the fundies won’t but I’m talking about those who were swayed back in 2008/2009).

Gianpiero
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

@Ben

Right on. Every week now there are more legally married same-sex couples in this country who demonstrate what it really “looks like” and what “happens.” Every additional couple makes the apocalyptic claims of our opponents weaker and sillier. There is nothing that is making their arguments any stronger. It’s time to fight back against their lies and mischaracterizations.

iDavid
February 2nd, 2012 | LINK

@BeninOakland

Well said Ben!

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