This weekend is going to be a big weekend for Ask an Atheist– we’ll finally be talking about Scientology! But first, we’re going to work on civil rights here in Washington. To help put things into perspective, I’ll provide some history from online sources:
Washington passed it’s own version of the Defense of Marriage Act banning same-sex marriages in 1998, with the state supreme court upholding the law in 2006.
In 2007 Washington allowed for domestic partnerships, and the rights granted in these partnerships were expanded to what was called “everything but marriage” in 2009. However, the additional rights were approved in a voter ballot challenging that expansion, marking the first time in US history a voter ballot approved an extension of LGBT marriage rights.
But as we’ve come to understand via history, “separate but equal” rarely works out the way it says. And so this February, the legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and the law was signed by Governor Gregoire a few days later.
Had things gone as planned, same-sex marriage would now be legal in Washington. But right under the wire, on June 12th, enough signatures had been gathered to put a new initiative on the ballot: Referendum 74. As Mike points out, in Ref 74, we are to vote as the legislature does, so to approve same sex marriage, vote yes.
The expansion of civil rights in 2009 was fought by organizations like the “Washington Eagle Forum”, Pastor Ken Hutcherson, the Faith and Freedom Network, and a group called “Washington Opposed to Pro-Homosexual Policies”, an organization run by two pastors.
This year seems no different, with the president of Preserve Marriage Washington writing that “[Companies and elites] have told us that they don’t support honoring what God designed — marriage as the union of one man and one woman“. Protect Marriage Washington, an organization against gay marriage and the driver behind Ref74, openly references the inflammatory christian fundamentalist James Dobson and his “Focus on the Family” organization. So while the people fighting for civil rights might be doing very well with raising funds so far, listeners of Ask an Atheist know the kind of resources that religiously-motivated groups can bring to bear. We still expect this to be a hard fight.
Under the thin veneer of “defending marriage”, equal marriage opponents whine that the liberty and civil rights of others tramples on their own vaguely defined rights– vaguely defined because the right they are defending is the right to dictate religious morality in the public square. This is clear religious and largely Chrisitian privilege and should not stand, and Ask an Atheist proudly joins the fight against this assumed and destructive advantage.
We’ll start “fighting” by doing what we do best: sitting and talking.
So on July 13th and 14th, from noon to noon, Ask an Atheist faces and voices will dedicate 24 hours of our lives to an online streaming telethon supporting the approval of Referendum 74. We’ll take calls, invite guests, answer questions, and talk about anything, all while taking donations for Washington United for Marriage. We’ll likely not be on BlogTV this time, so keep an eye on our website, askanatheist.tv, for the feed location.
Additionally, I’ll be appearing on KLAY 1180’s “Equal Time” show to talk about our event.
We’d also like to take a moment to thank the kind folks at Equal Rights Washington and Washington United for Marriage, who managed to get back to us and provide us with helpful information despite the mountain of work ahead of them.
We encourage you to tune in, join the party, support and VOTE YES on Referendum 74.