LETTER TO THE EDITOR | All families deserve equal rights
October 26, 2009 · 7:58 AM
To the editor:
We deeply regret the need to write this piece. Unfortunately, a group of people filed Referendum 71 to repeal a law signed in May by Gov. Christine Gregoire that ensures all Washington families are provided the same equal treatment, equal protection, equal rights and equal obligations as their neighbors. Under this law, registered domestic partners (same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples with at least one partner over age 62), and married couples are treated equally under the law throughout the state of Washington.
We are a same-sex couple. We have been together for 25 years. Our commitment celebration was officiated by a minister in 1986.
We have raised three wonderful, socially productive children in this community. We deeply appreciate the positive regard, respect and friendship we experience, and love being actively involved in our community of Coupeville. Gratefully, we have never had the experience of anyone in Coupeville diminishing our validity as a family or couple. No one here has suggested that our domestic relationship devalues their marriage.
We’d prefer to focus our time and attention on other community interests. We resent being drawn into this battle. But we feel compelled to ask you to stand with us in our determination that domestic partners should be afforded equal rights. If this referendum does not pass, and if one of us was dying in the hospital, we could be denied access to one another. We could be excluded by the hospital from decision-making authority about the needs of our partner.
How does this inequality enhance or support the marriage between a man and a woman, as the opponents to equal rights claim? We think this is wrong; it is not consistent with the principles of equality within a democratic nation.
We ask you to stand with us and vote YES to approve Referendum 71 to retain domestic partnership rights.
And please reach out and ask your friends and family to do the same. All families deserve equal civil rights under the law.
Jan Pickard and Anne Harvey