Thursday, February 09, 2012

Joy and Roiled Waters on the Left Coast

Smart and good-hearted Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire can hardly wait to sign the marriage equality bill that passed the legislature yesterday. She's long been big on civil rights and LGBT friendly.

The elation from Olympia to Seattle and around is terrific.

The soon-to-be law passed largely on party lines. You can figure out for yourself which side the Republicans were on in the 55 to 43 House and 28 to 21 Senate votes.

This law will overrule the state's DOMA one-man/one-woman marriage law, but the plug-nasties haven't given up. Public polls favor SSM, as do such huge employers as Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks. Moreover, a referendum to overturn the domestic partnership law in 2009 was the first such plebiscite in the nation to lose, when the voters affirmed equality.

Unfortunately the anti-SSM/anti-homosexual forces are making a double stand. They'll try to get two measures on the next ballot, one overturning the new marriage-equality law and the other reaffirming the DOMA-style definition of marriage. The confusing and somewhat contradictory possible initiatives raise the question about whether SSM opponents are befuddled or simply hoping to addle voters.

At the least, if either or both end up on the ballot, Equal Rights Washington and other groups will have to go from celebration to yet more education.

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