On November 3, 2009, Washington State voters will be asked to vote on Referendum 71. A Yes vote will retain the domestic partnership law already passed by the Washington State Legislature and signed by the Governor. This law provides legal protections for lesbian and gay couples and seniors who are in committed relationships. This law specifies that a domestic partner is able to take unpaid leave to care for a critically ill loved one, without the threat of being terminated by an employer and to cover a partner in family health insurance. It also ensures that pension and death benefits protect children when a parent dies. These are the same rights that are available to married heterosexual couples. Since lesbians and gays cannot legally marry in Washington State, they have no recourse but to use the rights afforded them as domestic partners now sanctioned by law.
A vote of No on this referendum will effectively negate the legal rights of domestic partners, and radically alter and jeopardize the quality of life for many individuals, who have not wronged the society at large. To exact such punishment from people simply based on a prejudiced and decidedly narrow-minded view of those who differ in term of their sexual orientation, is decidedly irrational and effectively works against the harmonious interactions between individuals in the larger community and the cohesiveness that is so essential for a productive society.
The argument that allowing these rights to continue effectively sanctions homosexuality and will ultimately endanger the institution of marriage is a spurious one and emanates from a fear that has no basis in reality.