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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 14, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 37
Fact checkers for marriage equality
Section One
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Fact checkers for marriage equality

Approve R-74 campaign launches site for correcting opponents' falsehoods

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

On Friday, September 7, Washington United for Marriage launched MarriageFactCheck.com, a website designed to provide a 'rapid response' to misrepresentations and falsehoods raised by opponents of Referendum 74. The effort is intended to clarify the issues surrounding marriage equality and thus to help turn more voters to the 'Approve' side of the ballot in November.

The website was launched just after the state's four Catholic bishops called on their parishioners to reject R-74, making various untrue or misleading claims. The first set of facts on the new website served to counter the bishops' assertions.

'We understand and respect that the bishops oppose the freedom to marry, but we cannot sit by and allow anyone, even the bishops, to misrepresent the law or the facts,' said Zach Silk, Washington United campaign manager. 'Knowing what's certain to come this fall from our opponents, we're launching MarriageFactCheck.com so voters know the truth and aren't scared or swayed by continuous misrepresentations of the law.'

The website provides information in an 'Assertion/Fact' format. Here are two examples from the rebuttal to the bishops' statement:

Assertion: 'The bishops & made reference to religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, that have been forced to suspend ministries such as adoption and foster care because of conscientious objections to same-sex marriage.'

Fact: 'The bishops like to refer to suspension of services, most notably in Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Illinois, where each Catholic charity made a decision to abandon adoption services rather than comply with existing non-discrimination laws that apply to any entity receiving state funds. Furthermore, in all cases, the conflict arose over long-standing non-discrimination laws that have nothing to do with same-sex marriage. And in the most recent case in Illinois, after getting rebuffed, the Church finally abandoned its lawsuit altogether. Finally, in each case, state and city agencies quickly moved to transfer those services to adoption and foster care agencies that would consider qualified Gay and Lesbian applicants.'

Assertion: 'The redefinition of marriage does not bestow any new legal rights on couples of the same sex in Washington state. In 2009 a law was passed that granted to registered domestic partners every legal benefit enjoyed by couples in traditional marriages.'

Fact: 'States that have passed civil unions have found them to be fundamentally unequal. After New Jersey enacted civil unions, in 2008, an independent Civil Union Review Commission issued a report arguing that the Civil Union Act 'invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.' A commission in Vermont drew similar conclusions in 2008, nearly a decade after it passed its civil union law. Also in 2008, the Supreme Court of Connecticut struck down a statute that prohibited same-sex marriage, finding that civil unions and marriage 'are by no means equal.' Washington United representative Andy Grow says the website could be updated at any time.

'If something happens this afternoon or tomorrow we will respond as fast as we can - that's the idea,' Grow told SGN. 'To get the facts out as soon as possible.'

Check out the website at www.marriagefactcheck.com.

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