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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for June, 2012

Washington Marriage Opponents File Signatures

Jim Burroway

June 6th, 2012

Marriage equality opponents in Washington filed more than 200,000 signatures today for a referendum to place the state’s same-sex marriage law up for a vote. The group, Preserve Marriage Washington, submitted the signatures just one day before the law granting full marriage to same-sex couples, which was signed into law in February, was due to take effect. By filing these signatures, that puts the law on hold while State officials review the filing to determine whether Referendum 74 will qualify for the ballot.

If Referendum 74 does qualify, it will set up an unusual dynamic in the upcoming election. For all thirty-two previous ballot campaigns on marriage equality, a “no” vote was the vote to cast to prevent permanent bans on same-sex marriage to be written into state constitutions. But for Referendum 74, a “yes” vote is the vote for marriage equality. That is already starting to confuse some people:

My neighbor walked into the coffee shop this morning—a working mom, has a wonderful kid, thriving career, acres of smarts, and enthusiastic support for gay marriage—and proudly informed me she was prepared to reject Referendum 74. Which seems like it makes sense. Anti-gay Preserve Marriage Washington is trying to place R-74 on the ballot to repeal Washington State’s marriage law, so naturally a person like my neighbor thinks that she wants to reject whatever they’re doing. But she doesn’t. She wants to approve R-74.

I’m sure that will trip us up once or twice before this thing is over.

NOM Boycotts Starbucks

Jim Burroway

March 21st, 2012

Maggie Gallagher and Johnathan Baker, National Organization for Marriage’s director for what they call “The Corporate Fairness Project,” attended the annual Starbucks shareholder meeting today. Baker, as a Starbucks shareholder, addressed the meeting and took the board to task for the “controversial stand Starbucks has taken here in Washington in support of same-sex marriage.” Citing a Starbucks message endorsing Washington’s Referendum 74, a proposal that would allow marriage equality to take effect in the state, as reflecting Starbucks’ core values as a company, Baker asked if that decision was made by the board of directors and questioned whether the decision would hinder the company’s efforts to expand internationally. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz responded:

Any decision of this type or magnitude has be made with great thoughtfulness and I would assure you that a senior team of Starbucks discussed this. And it was, to be candid with you, not something that was a difficult decision for us and we did share this with some members of the board as well. [Applause and cheers]

I don’t want to answer the question in any way that would be disrespectful to you or other people who might see it differently. I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage and the tradition of the company that perhaps may be inconsistent with one group’s view of the world or a decision we may make. I said earlier in my prepared remarks that we’re not perfect, and from time to time we may make a mistake or people may view it as a mistake. But we made that decision, in our view, through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity.”

And with that, NOM announced their boycott:

“Unlike our opponents, we do not target whole companies for the actions of an individual business executive in that company,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “But Starbucks has taken a corporate position in support of redefining marriage for all of society. We will not tolerate an international company attempting to force its misguided values on citizens. The majority of Americans and virtually every consumer in some countries in which Starbucks operates believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. They will not be pleased to learn that their money is being used to advance gay marriage in society.”

Mormons for Marriage concerned about possible church involvement in Washington state

Timothy Kincaid

February 17th, 2012

After the black eye that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints received in the days and months following the passage of Proposition 8, I thought that they would do everything they could to avoid controversy or assume an anti-gay visible presence in the future.

Ever aware of how they have been perceived, the Mormons have for decades worked towards a public image as “good honest friendly neighbor” and suddenly finding themselves known to half the population as “the meanie who takes away rights” left them flailing and in confusion as how to respond. And what with a decent chance of having a Mormon in the White House, I seriously doubted that they would take any stance that could reflect negatively on anyone.

But I may be wrong.

Mormons for Marriage, an organization of faithful who support inclusion of gay people in civil marriage law, are reporting that opponents of the law are meeting with Mormon leadership.

Less than 24 hours after personally filing Referendum 74 with the Washington state attorney general’s office, Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington and John Paulton of Focus on the Family met with “Mormon Church Leaders” in Washington. A staffer at the Family Policy Institute initially disclosed the meeting by phone, the meeting was later confirmed directly by Joseph Backholm.

It isn’t known what was requested, promised or denied. However, in California we learned that a request from the Prophet will get Mormon volunteers in the streets, making calls, giving money. Let’s keep an eye on this development.

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