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King County Labor backs Decline to Sign
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King County Labor backs Decline to Sign
Courtesy of Pride At Work

On May 20, the Martin Luther King County Labor Council voted unanimously to recommend the Decline to Sign Referendum 71 campaign. Since Referendum 71 would be a statewide measure if it qualifies for the ballot in November, the MLKCLC's recommendation must now go to the Washington State Labor Council for final action.

Wednesday's vote came at the request of Pride At Work, the AFL-CIO's LGBT constituency organization.

In its request to the MLKCLC, Pride At Work said, "Referendum 71 unfairly challenges the right of LGBT workers to provide for our families in the same ways that straight workers do, and puts equal treatment for over 5,300 already registered domestic partners at risk."

Referendum 71 challenges SB 5688, the expansion of domestic partnership rights passed by the Washington State Legislature last month. Signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire on May 18, SB 5688 provides registered domestic partners all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities enjoyed by married spouses under state law.

Supporters of Referendum 71 have until July 25 to collect 120,577 signatures in order to qualify the measure for the November ballot. If they fail, SB 5688 will become law on July 26.

The MLKCLC represents over 150 affiliated unions and other labor organizations, and more than 75,000 workers. It is affiliated with the WSLC and the AFL-CIO, but also includes some Change To Win unions working under "solidarity charters."

The MLKCLC has a history of supporting equality for LGBT partners. In April 2000 the MLKCLC passed a resolution supporting domestic partnership benefits for Washington state employees, and reaffirmed its commitment in February 2001 when those benefits were challenged by state Republicans.

In 2004, the MLKCLC passed a resolution supporting civil marriage equality and another opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment. In 2006, it signed on to an amicus brief supporting marriage equality in the Andersen v Sims case before the Washington State Supreme Court, as did about 30 of its affiliated unions.

The MLKCLC amended its bylaws in 2008 to add representation on its Executive Board for Pride At Work and other AFL-CIO constituency groups. Pride At Work is also represented on the WSLC.

For more information, contact Mike Andrew, Secretary-Treasurer of MLK County Pride At Work, 206-261-8110 or OutFront.PrideAtWork@gmail.com.
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