To the editor:
Stephen Kahn is confused. Referendum 74 simply affirms that consenting adult, same-gender partners can be legally married in the State of Washington. They can be married by judges, justices of the peace, or any other legally authorized entity.
Yes, “...churches define marriage as their beliefs dictate,” and yes, “Churches should be free to marry or not marry anyone they see fit.” Referendum 74 has nothing to do with churches or church beliefs. Referendum 74 has everything to do with the civil right of same gender partners to be legally married. But to say that “Church marriage should have no legal standing” is also to miss another fact: Some churches approve of same-gender marriage and are supporting Referendum 74. For those churches it is important that their marriages have legal standing. Other churches need not apply.
Referendum 74 recognizes current legal domestic partnerships and affirms that these partners may marry. The reasoning is simple. Just because domestic partnership in Washington has the same rights as marriage doesn’t mean it carries the same personal or social validity. (Compare “Will you marry me?” to “Will you be my domestic partner?”) Separate is not equal. In a free society, marriage should be a civil right. Referendum 74 affirms marriage as a civil right for all consenting adults in the state of Washington.
Referendum 74 is the answer.
DIANE DIVELBESS and GRETHE CAMMERMEYER