Final push to approve Referendum 71
 

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posted Friday, October 16, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 42

Final push to approve Referendum 71
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

This week, Washingtonians began to receive their General Election ballots - ballots that contain Referendum 71 - asking them to approve or reject the state's domestic partnership law. After months of signature gathering, declining to sign petitions, signature verification, and litigation - the time to vote is now.

VOTE TO APPROVE REF. 71

The following is the ballot language printed on the General Election ballot:

The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage. Should this bill be: Approved ___ Rejected ____




APPROVE REF. 71 CAMPAIGN


The Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST) campaign to approve Referendum 71 continues, despite ballots arriving in the mail. This week, the campaign to approve the referendum reached a milestone of $1 million dollars raised for the campaign advocating to keep the same-sex domestic partnership law on the books.

On October 17, WAFST has planned to mobilize a door-to-door outreach campaign. WAFST officials say volunteers will distribute literature, answer questions, and urge people to vote to approve Referendum 71.

The campaign sent out an e-mail this week to WAFST supporters reminding them that the best way to make an impressions is "to speak with someone face to face." WAFST said they plan to knock on doors for approximately three hours.

For more information about WAFST, the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign, or to volunteer, visit the organization online at www.approvereferendum71.org.

COMMUNITIES OF COLOR ENDORSE REF. 71

Thirty-one organizations that represent and serve communities of color have endorsed Referendum 71 this week, and are urging voters to approve Referendum 71.

"There isn't just one type of family in our communities. We are a diverse community with diverse families. They all deserve legal protections and to be treated fairly under the law, especially during these times of economic uncertainty," said Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro de la Raza.

In a joint statement released by the organizations, the coalition of communities of color say they support the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign because Gay and Lesbian couples need domestic partnership laws to provide essential protections for their families.

"Committed couples who want to take care of each other should be allowed to visit each other in the hospital, take family and medical leave when a loved one is seriously ill, and have insurance coverage," the statement said. "Families with children need the protections provided by domestic partnership laws, especially when a parent dies. There are Gay and Lesbian couples in our community whose relationships are not recognized by their employers, leaving them uninsured or ineligible to receive survivor's benefits if one of them passes away."

"This new law also protects elders in our community who are in monogamous opposite-sex relationships but choose not to marry. Our elders are the rock of our community. We must do all that we can to protect them," said James Kelly, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle.

Often seniors who are widowed or divorced will suffer serious economic hardship if they remarry. Under Social Security, there is a "marriage penalty" which puts seniors' benefits in peril if they remarry.

"The domestic partnership law allows unmarried senior couples to have the legal protections they need to take care of each other, to be able to provide insurance or take family medical leave if a partner is gravely ill, and to make critical decisions for one another in times of crisis - without losing benefits that for many may be their only source of income," reads the statement. "They should not have to live in poverty in order to be together with the person they love."

The 31 organizations join the coalition of over 180 businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals who've endorsed the Approve Referendum 71 Campaign so far.



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