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Washington state legalises gay marriage

2012-02-14 09:01

Olympia - The governor of Washington state handed gay rights advocates a major victory on Monday, signing into law a measure that legalises same-sex marriage in Washington state, making it the seventh in the nation to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Governor Chris Gregoire signed the bill surrounded by gay rights supporters. "I'm proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal," she said.

Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington DC.

Opponents

It's a historic moment for the state, but same-sex couples can't walk down the aisle just yet. The law takes effect June 7, but opponents on multiple fronts already are preparing to fight.

Opponents filed Referendum 73 on Monday afternoon. If they collect the more than 120 577 valid voter signatures by June 6, the law will be put on hold pending the outcome of a November vote. Separately, an initiative was filed at the beginning of the legislative session that opponents of gay marriage say could also lead to the new law being overturned.

Gay marriage supporters said that while they are ready for a campaign battle, they are allowing themselves to celebrate first.

"You have to relish this moment," said 31-year-old Bret Tiderman of Seattle.

The state reception room at the Capitol was packed with hundreds of gay rights supporters and at least 40 lawmakers from the House and Senate.

Senator Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat who is gay and has sponsored gay rights legislation for years, told the cheering crowd: "My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow. No matter what the future holds, nothing will take this moment in history away from us."

'Do not betray Christ'

As the Democratic governor signed the legislation, a man shouted, "Do not betray Christ!" However, his voice was overwhelmed by gay-marriage supporters who cheered and spoke loudly during his outburst.

Bob Struble, 68, was removed from the room and said he was given a warning by security. Struble said he believes the state will halt gay marriage in a public vote. "We'll be doing everything we can to overturn this unfortunate law," he said.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who opposes gay marriage, was in town speaking with conservative voters. Santorum also planned to meet with Republican lawmakers at the Capitol on Monday.

Gregoire's signature comes nearly a week after a federal appeals court declared California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, saying it was a violation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples.

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals gave gay marriage opponents time to appeal the 2-1 decision against Proposition 8 before ordering the state to allow same-sex weddings to resume. The judges also said the decision only applies to California, even though the court has jurisdiction in nine Western states.

Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007, and in 2009 passed an "everything but marriage" expansion of that law, which was ultimately upheld by voters after a referendum challenge.

The coalition of opponents that filed Monday's referendum is "Preserve Marriage Washington."

"I think in the end, people are going to preserve marriage," said Joe Fuiten, senior pastor at Cedar Park Church in Bothell who is involved in the referendum effort.

Referendum

The Washington DC-based National Organisation for Marriage, which was involved in ballot measures that overturned same-sex marriage in California and Maine, has promised to work with Preserve Marriage Washington to qualify a referendum to overturn the new law.

Christopher Plante, a regional co-ordinator from NOM, attended the referendum filing and said that his group will be offering technical assistance to Preserve Marriage Washington, helping them gather signatures and raise money. He said that the campaign is likely to be expensive, estimating that between $2m and $6m could be spent on each side of the campaign.

Separately, an anti-gay marriage initiative was filed at the beginning of the session, but the language is still being worked out so no signatures have been collected yet. An initiative alone would not pause the law.

A campaign has already formed to fight any challenge to the new law. "Washington United for Marriage," a coalition of gay marriage supporters, formed in November to lobby the Legislature to pass the measure and to run a campaign against any referendum challenging it.

Same-sex marriage has the backing of several prominent Pacific Northwest businesses, including Microsoft Corp, Nike Inc and Starbucks Corp.

The New Jersey Senate advanced a gay marriage bill on Monday, and a vote is expected in the New Jersy Assembly on Thursday. Governor Chris Christie, who is pushing for a public vote on the issue, has said he will veto the bill if it comes to his desk.

Legislative committees in Maryland heard testimony on gay marriage last week, and Maine could see a gay marriage proposal on the November ballot.

Proposed amendments to ban gay marriage will be on the ballots in North Carolina in May and in Minnesota in November.

Comments
  • janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 11:40

    Slavery... interracial marriage... interfaith marriage... same-sex marriage... how the wheels of the moral imagination are turning towards enlightened living :-)

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 11:59

      To be "enligthened is to follow the believes of the first man made humanistic system" There is nothing enligtened about it, only corruptoin of that which is good, The "new age" believes are not new but ancient knowledge and believes which has showed its face again...This knowledge only leads to curruption and death., there is no salvation, peace or freedom in it. The purist system of hyprocacy.

  • Eugene - 2012-02-14 11:53

    The last days will be like unot the days of Noah!....all i need to say the Truth testyfies to the Word of God

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 12:13

      Indeed. Like the days of Noah; where "good" is defined in the Old Testament's way. Where slavery is condoned, where polytheism reigned, where a woman shall have a menstrual cycle out in the fields away from society. Where beating your slave half to death is fine AS LONG as he/she doesn't die within the first three days. Where wearing your husband's clothing is sufficient cause for a stoning (which, I believe, even the Israelites were wise enough not to do even though it was so commanded by Mosaic law). Aye, I say unto thee. What wonders shall befall mankind when the laws of Old are brought back. Where conservatives reign, where free will disappears and all mankind follows the predestination of God. It was long ago, and it was far away, and it as ALL BETTER. And hypocrisy did not exist, nay, did not, because Eugene, you clearly know SO MUCH BETTER than the rest of us morally corrupt fiends. I guess Satan must have put these words into my mouth, right?

      Gerhard - 2012-02-14 12:19

      Eugene the universe never was created and hence cannot be destroyed.

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 12:23

      Its a shame, you learned a couple of verses and now slander the whole faith. I see you are a learned person, its a shame you dwell on your own knowledge and dont go study science, history and the believes which you yourself has fallen a trap to. Careful what you point to others, because most of the time the accuser is more guilty than the accused. Ook is dit n jammerte dat jy soos n redelose dier dit ontken wat jy nie verstaan nie maar jy is maklik om mens gemaakte leeringe te glo wat verander soos wat hulle eie kennis vermeerder. Jy is n slaaf vir die kennis/mense wat jou verkeerdelik leer. 2 Tim 3:1 Maar weet dit, dat daa in die laaste dae swaar tye sal kom. 2 Want die mense sal liefhebbers van hulsefl wees, geldlasteraars, ongehoorsaam aan hulle ouers, ondankbaar, onheilig 3 sonder natuulike liefde, onversoenlik, kwaadsprekers, bandeloos, wreed, sonder liefde vir die goeie, 4 verraaiers, roekloos, verwaand, meer liefhebbers van genot as liefhebbers van God 5 Mense wat die gedaante van godsaligheid het, maar die krag daarvanverloen. Voordat jy als verloen wat jy nie verstaan nie, stap net n biekie terug en gaan soek die oorsprong van alle dinge, want as jy regtig die kennis het wat van die begin van tye het sal jy sien geloof is nie net n "geloof" nie maar n weesenlike gesonde leer, waarvan jy jouself sal beskerm teen mense wat eidelike leeringe inbring en jou in die geheim haat en jou wil laat val. Sonder kennis gaan ons ten gronde.

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 12:31

      Gerhard, Science PROVED that the universe is 15 Billion years old, even the Bible says that the universe was created? Do you know the laws of thermodynamics? (Energy) States that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. However, energy can change forms, and energy can flow from one place to another. The total energy of an isolated system remains the same. (This would mean by the law of science if the universe is only 15 Billion years old that "SOMETING needed to give the energy to create the universe? Because energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Not to mention the 2nd law. Go do yourself a study, go deeper into quantum physics....The Bible and science does not contradict each other, altho most churches doesnt understand their OWN Bibles. Its actually much more interesting than people might think. Careful for the theachings whihc you may have been taught and accepted as a truth when it is infact not a truth but a half truth. Its not the things we dont know that hurts us, its the things we know that just aint so that hurts us the MOST!

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 12:37

      Nog n punt Gerhard, Jesus het gese "Want vorwaar Ek se vir julle, voordat die hemel en die aarde verbygaan, sal nie een jota of een titteltjoe van die wet ooit verbygaan totdat alles gebeur het nie" My eie entrepitasie is, soos wat natuur en die heelal volgends n "design" en wettte gemaak is wat aangetref kan word in alle aspekte, sla die wette van God ook nie kan vergaan nie omdat dit Hy is wat daaraan krag, ontwerp geskenk het. Soos n programeerder wette in n program sal skryf om te opereer. Daar kan dalk virusse in die program eindig wat als rond gooi, maar dit sal nooit werk soos wat die program gemaak was om te opereer totdat dit weer tevolle herstel word nie. Wat was sal weer wees.

      Garth - 2012-02-14 12:49

      @ Eugene - I seriously doubt that Jesus actually said that - he spoke Aramaic.

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 12:58

      Rolf Garth...Good one. So maybe he didnt speak afrikaans or english. Matt 5:17-18 to go read the "literal translated text"

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 13:40

      Paar verse van die Bybel? Glad nie mnr. Ek het eintlik heel onlangs die hele Bybel gelees en 'n paar interessante dinge daarvan geleer. Wanneer laas het jy die Bybel van voor tot agter gelees? Wanneer laas het jy die moeite gedoen om meer te leer van wat presies moderne archeologie ons kan leer van die Bybel? Ek dink anyways as 'n ouer vir 'n gay persoon kan lief wees, hoeveel te meer kan God, as hy bestaan, nie lief wees vir 'n gay persoon nie? Dis ironies dat jy na apokaliptiese idees verwys, want in die dae van Timoteus het die ouens al vas geglo die eskaton gaan binne hulle leeftyd plaasvind. Selfde vir Jesus Christus natuurlik, soos jy seker weet. Ek staar my nie vas in die wetenskap nie, die beste manier om jou geloof te toets is om die Bybel te lees. As jy daarna nogsteeds alles daarin letterlik wil op vat, so be it. In die ou Testament was wysheid iets waarna mens moes streef, Paulus, aan die ander kant, maak wysheid af, en vertel ons God sal die wyse mense verwar. So Paulus is seker reg, ék is verward, die waarheid is alles in die Bybel, moderne wetenskap is een groot leuen en wié op dees aarde is ék om dit te betwyfel, duidelik 'n sot wat net verder wil sonde pleeg, reg? En so wag ons steeds op die eskaton, en daar is so klein deeltjie van my wat dink: ons gaan nog BAIE LANK wag...

      Fidel - 2012-02-14 13:47

      Afrikaans is a beautiful language.........

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 13:50

      ... en net om af te handel. Niemand weet presies wat Jesus gesê het nie, maar dit lyk of die Quelle-source (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_source) hipotese tog akkuraat is. As jy dít as Christen lees, en verstaan wat Christus aan sy dissipels in daardie teks probeer oordra het, sal jy dalk agter kom dat die eskaton idees moontlik selfs eers na Christus se dood in die teks ingeskryf is, alhoewel ek vermoed Hy self in die eskaton geglo het. Nieteenstaande: die kritiese vraag bly steeds wíe die laaste boeke van die Nuwe Testament geskryf het, en hoékom. Wat sterk daarby verband hou is: in watter tyd. Gaan leer self meer daaroor, dan gesels ons weer...

      Eugene - 2012-02-14 14:22

      Ai, Dit help jou absoluut niks as jy n storie boek lees maar jy verstaan NIKS van die inhoud nie, want dit is wat die Bybel is, n boek van herinneringe aan wie dit geskryf is van goeie en gesonde leer. As jy regtig die integriteit gebruik het waarmee jy teen dit spreek en dit gebruik het om dit te verstaan asook om die leef wyse ens wetenskaplik op te weeg, soos die eet van vark ens, die plekke en gebeure argeologies en geskiedkundig te gaan studeur en te besef oor wie presies is hy geskryf sal jy nie die siens wyse he wat jy vandag het nie. Enige iemand kan n boek lees. Min mense is lief vir die waarheid, As jy in die water spring met die intensie om te verdrink sal jy verdrink, as jy in die water spring om te swem sal jy swem. Passop ook om net te dink net jy het al die Bybel deur gelees.....ek het ook nie net my bybel gelees nie maar die begin van alle ander gelowe, die oorsprong van dinge,geskiedenis, wetenskap, die handleidings van die wereld regeerders en nog baie meer, maar ook het ek n gewilligheid gehad om als te leer sodat ek vir myself n volslae besluit te kan maak en nie aan mense se leeringe te hou nie, Jy sal sien hoe meer jou kennis vermeerder hoe meer sal jou opinie oor dinge wat jy nou aanvaar as waarheid verander, net soos wat ek ook al moes. Maar ek gee jou punte vir jou bereidheid om te leer. Laaste punt, gaan ondersoek die leeringe duuper wat JY begin leer het, sodat jy daai leerings se oorsprong ook kan ondersoek.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 15:13

      Ek geniet dit eintlik om met jou te gesels, want duidelik dink jy tog ook verder oor dinge. Jy is absoluut reg, mens moet alle feite versigtig beskou, en dan daarna self besluit wat jy glo. Met ander woorde geloof is tog ook gebaseer op dit wat jy beleef. Jy lees op oor feite, sien die natuur, en daarvolgens besluit jy eindelik wat jy glo. En dit is belangrik! As jy die ander gelowe se boeke gelees het, dis goed! Ek het self die Koran onlangs gelees, en glo my die Bybel in baie detail. Not a quick skim reading en eerlik waar dis bietjie arrogant van jou om my ter vertel ek lees dit 'maar verstaan niks'. Die leerstellings in die Bybel is baie waardevol. That goes without saying. Dit bevat minstens 4000 jaar van mense se ervarings, so dit sal dom wees om alles daarin bloot te ignoreer. Maar as jy dan self so seker is dat die wetenskap en die Bybel vereenselwigbaar is, gaan toets jouself gerus. Victor Stenger is ateisties (ek byskou myself as Christen/Agnosties, want ék glo self daar is meer as net natuur, maar dit daar gelaat), maar sy argumente is baie solied. Mens lees natuurlik meer as net die Bybel. Ek is seker jy het al van CS Lewis se boeke gelees, en jy MOET Timothy Keller (timothykeller.com/books/the_reason_for_god/) se boeke lees. Ek dink jy sal baie daarvan hou. Daar is ook Schaeffer en D'Souza, selfs Aquinas en Augustinus. Maar daarna moet jy ook gewillig wees om bv. boeke van John Loftus, Richard Carrier en Richard Price te lees...

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 15:47

      LOL Robert Price :-) Ghhr

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