The definition of marriage in Washington is under attack because of the Legislature and Governor Gregoire's support for SB 6239, a bill that redefines marriage by allowing same-sex marriage. Thanks to the signatures of nearly 250,000 Washingtonians, the issue will be brought to a vote on November 6, 2012. Voters must mark REJECT on Referendum 74 to preserve marriage as the union between one man and one woman in Washington State.
If Referendum 74 is approved, there will be profound consequences for religious organizations, individuals, medical professionals, and small businesses-and for society itself.
Marriage Would Be Redefined For Everyone
Contrary to what some people think, same-sex 'marriage' would not exist in the law alongside traditional marriage; as if it were a different expression of the same marriage institution they have always known. Marriage will be redefined for everyone. Our historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman would be replaced by a new paradigm for marriage as the union of two people, regardless of gender.
Genderless Marriage the Only Legally Recognized Definition
This new, redefined version of marriage as a genderless institution would be the only legally recognized definition of marriage in Washington. Such a radical change in the definition of marriage will produce a host of societal conflicts that government - exercising its enormous enforcement powers - will have to resolve. Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations whose own beliefs, traditions, morals or ethnic upbringing are at odds with the new definition of marriage will find themselves subjected to legal consequences if they do not act according to the new legal orthodoxy.
Not a "Live and Let Live" Issue
Legal experts on both sides of the marriage debate agree that the issue has profound impacts on society. Scholars from some of the nation's most respected law schools have written that the issue implicates a host of issues, ranging from religious liberty, to individual expression of faith, to education and the professions.
For example, these legal scholars predict 'a sea of change in American law,' and foretell an 'immense' volume of litigation against individuals, small businesses and religious organizations.
Racists and Bigots?
Those who do not agree with this new definition of marriage as a genderless institution existing for the benefit of adults will be treated under the law just like racists and bigots, and will be punished for their beliefs. This is already occurring elsewhere:
- Religious groups who have refused to make their facilities available for same-sex couples have lost their state tax exemption.
- Religious groups like Catholic Charities in Boston and Washington DC have had to choose between fulfilling their social mission based on their religious beliefs, or acquiescing to this new definition of marriage. They have, for example, been forced to close their charitable adoption agencies.
- Nonprofit groups are faced with abandoning their historic mission principles in order to maintain governmental contracts (for things like low-income housing, health clinics, etc.)
- Whenever schools educate children about marriage, which happens throughout the curriculum, they will have no choice but to teach this new genderless institution. In Massachusetts, kids as young as second grade were taught about gay marriage in class. The courts ruled that parents had no right to prior notice, or to opt their children out of such instruction.
- Wedding professionals have been fined for refusing to participate in a same-sex ceremony. Christian innkeepers in Vermont and Illinois are being sued over their refusal to make their facilities available for same-sex weddings despite offers to refer the couples to other providers and in spite of the deeply-held religious views of the inn-keepers.
- Doctors, lawyers, accountants and other licensed professionals risk their state licensure if they act on their belief that a same-sex couple cannot really be married. A counselor, for example, could not refuse 'marriage therapy' to a same-sex couple because she doesn't believe in gay marriage. She'd put her licensure at risk.
- Those people - a strong majority of Washington voters - who believe marriage is between one man and one woman, would be the legal equivalent of bigots for acting on their heartfelt beliefs. Refusal to accommodate and recognize same-sex 'marriages' would be the equivalent of racial discrimination. Not only will the law penalize traditional marriage supporters, but the power of government will work in concert to promote this belief throughout the culture.
The Needs of Children Take Second Place to the Desires of Adults
Perhaps most importantly, redefining marriage shifts the focus of our marriage laws away from the interests of children and society as a whole, and onto the desires of the adults involved in a same-sex relationship. This will result in the most profound long-term consequences.
The Deconstruction of Marriage
An example of how redefining marriage contributes to the deconstruction of marriage is its provision decreeing that 'husbands' can be women and 'wives' can be men. Any person with an ounce of common sense knows this is not true!
When marriage ceases to have its historic meaning and understanding, over time fewer and fewer people will marry. We will have an inevitable increase in children born out of wedlock, an increase in fatherlessness, a resulting increase in female and child poverty, and a higher incidence of all the documented social ills associated with children being raised in a home without their married parents.
Ultimately, we as a society all suffer when we fail to nourish a true, thriving marriage culture founded on the truth experienced by virtually every civilization in every nation since the dawn of time - marriage is the union of one man and one woman.