Gay marriage foes to fight expected US law

2012-02-03 14:08

Seattle - As gay couples and their supporters cheered the Washington state Senate's passage of legislation to legalise same-sex marriage, opponents were already considering how to take down the anticipated law.

By a 28-21 vote on Wednesday night, the state Senate passed legislation to legalise gay marriage, with exemptions in place for religious organisations opposed to conducting same-sex weddings or renting their facilities for gay nuptials.

Four Republicans joined 24 Democrats in supporting the bill, which would make Washington the seventh US state to allow same-sex matrimony. Three Democrats sided with 18 Republicans in opposing it.

The measure now heads to the state House of Representatives, where Democrats hold an even wider majority and the bill's passage by a comfortable margin is expected as early as next week. Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, has said she would sign a gay marriage bill into law.

With the bill seemingly headed for swift enactment, several efforts by opponents are shaping up to rally Washington state voters against the prospective law. Their options included two possible ballot measures in November - a referendum to repeal the gay marriage statute outright and an initiative defining marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman.

The National Organisation for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, has pledged to provide financial backing for conservative challengers to the four Republican senators who supported the bill when they run for re-election.

Starbucks boycott

Evangelical Pastor Steven Andrew, president of the USA Christian Ministries in California, has called for a national boycott of Starbucks in response to the Seattle-based company's endorsement of the gay marriage bill, and for Christians to stop serving the coffee brand at their facilities and events.

"Starbucks can follow Satan if they want to. However, pastors are to help Christians. Are you on the Lord's side? Will you help the USA be blessed by God?" he said in a written statement.

Asked about the call for a boycott, Starbucks repeated its longstanding support for equality of gay men and women.

"Starbucks is proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington state legislation recognising marriage equality for same-sex couples," the company said in an e-mail to Reuters.

The proposed initiative to define marriage as between heterosexual couples, led by Everett, Washington attorney Stephen Pidgeon, needs to gather 241 153 signatures of registered voters by July 6 to secure a spot on the ballot.

A referendum to repeal gay marriage would only need 120 577 signatures by June 6, but supporters of that measure must wait until after Gregoire signs the bill before starting to collect them.


"My guess is that foes of gay marriage will be going with the referendum challenge, since it takes fewer signatures and it gives a direct vote up or down on gay marriage," said Dave Ammons, spokesperson for the Washington secretary of state's office. "The initiative seems to be a backup plan."

Pidgeon, aged 57, said he would support the repeal referendum, too, but noted that his initiative can get started sooner and is not based on what lawmakers decide to do.

"We have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about the initiative. People are gearing up, and we're going to move ahead strongly, and I believe quickly," he said. "We already have hundreds of churches that have already pledged thousands of signatures."

Without the referendum challenge, a gay marriage law would take effect June 7, 90 days after the March 8 conclusion of the legislative session. If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, the law would be suspended until the November election and certification of the returns, meaning December 6, before it is either repealed or goes into effect.

Under the initiative process by contrast, gay marriages could proceed on June 7, regardless of the ballot-qualification process. It is unclear whether any unions officiated in the meantime would be nullified if Pidgeon's measure were to pass in November.

There is precedent in California for handling such a situation. California's Supreme Court legalised gay marriage in 2008, only for voters to approve a constitutional amendment six months later defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Restoring marriage

The state's high court ruled that the 18 000 same-sex couples who tied the knot between May and November, 2008, were still legal.

Chris Plante, regional coordinator for the New Jersey-based National Organisation for Marriage (NOM), said that his group plans to back the referendum effort, but will "keep the initiative in our back pocket".

"We're going to go forward as a united group because what's more important than the process is the end game of overturning this law and restoring marriage to its rightful definition," he said.

His group has not decided how much money it could provide for a ballot campaign to ban same-sex marriage, Plante said, but he estimated that such an effort would cost over $2m.

The group said it will also follow through on its pledge to spend $250 000 to defeat the Republican senators who voted for the bill, should they seek office again.

"Politicians have to understand that there's a price to pay for voting to redefine marriage - it is not what the people of Washington want," Plante said.

  • Charlie - 2012-02-03 14:35

    AWESOME NEWS! Good thing that Starbucks is now also available in SA - I will most certainly support them.

      Nadine Booyse - 2012-02-03 22:06

      I'm heading out for starbucks too, guess they know a good thing when they see it lol

  • Godfrey - 2012-02-03 14:50

    Its going to be full bore retard time as the hate-filled bible belt American Jesus homophobes go ape over this. When some religious people want to use ancient texts to justify acting upon their prejudices, citing the book of Leviticus suits them just fine. On the other hand, when such people want to indulge in practices prohibited by those same ancient texts, ignoring the bible suits them just fine. There is no difference between the current homophobes and the christian racist bigots who supported slavery 150 years ago and Apartheid more recently. Christian racists now wish to apply the same discrimination against homosexuals and other people who differ from them. The bigotry and cruelty is identical.

      GaryWatson - 2012-02-03 15:42

      Oh God-free you must remember, the white christian bigots actually think the statues of Jesus in the local Catholic church depicting him as a blue-eyed, blonde hair Ayran poster boy are accurate. Sorry for them...they're not. In fact if I guy that looked like Jesus wanted to date thier daughter, they'd be getting thier Glock out!

      GaryWatson - 2012-02-03 15:46

      Difference between a 'Christian' bigot supremacist and an islamic fundmentalist? Um.... nada! Not a thing... both are paraniod about the boogeyman. Both are as close to 'God' as a terd.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-03 15:50

      Hi Gary Well that is as good a bit of blasphemy as I have seen all day. The funny thing is that Jesus was not only white but, by all accounts, he was against free speech. Not only white.

  • James - 2012-02-03 15:26

    "Gay" Is a tragedy. The facts. 20yrs shorter lifespan,13.9 x suicide,3x smoking,7 x Alcoholism, 19x drug use than hetero's. Gay men .5% pop 50% HIV +, Cost $225,656 per case. 500 to 1000 sex partners in lifetime, then we have Canniba's Dahmer and Woodmansee.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-03 15:36

      LOL James you're funny. Ever consider WHY these might be the facts? Could it be because of being ostracised? As for the 500 to 1000 sex partners, that's a load of bull. I'm not suggesting the gay community is all about monogamy, but then again, neither is the straight community. Even good ol'Solomon apparently had his whole posse of wives :-) So let's not talk nonsense here. Dahmer and Woodmansee are two cases. Turns out there's a genetic trait which 98 % of death-row inmates have; you have it too: it's being male. That, however, does not make you more suicidal than myself. I just don't use nonsense arguments like yours to propagate hatred...

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-03 15:36

      Oh, and the HIV comment is also crap; get with the program, and learn to read statistics. Bwhahahahaha!!!

      darkyn1138 - 2012-02-03 15:38

      Your facts are based on lies or disingenuity. The "20 year shorter life span" lie is based on an AIDS epidemiology study conducted before the current use of anti-retroviral drugs. The higher rate of suicide and drug use is likely due to people like yourself working to demonize us as reported by the CDC and the APA. This may surprise you: HIV is not a gay disease. The ridiculous number of partners reported is not based on any study of gays in general and is nowhere near accurate. If being gay is responsible for Dahmer, being straight is responsible for Gacy, Bundy, Gein, etc., etc. Educate yourself before making your ignorance obvious to all.

      Hector - 2012-02-03 15:44

      James As we all know ... there are no known Hetro serial killing rapist a_____oles.... Wait a minute ..mmmmmm better rethink that one James as for these fantastical statistics you quote.. i see it is in $ .. does that then not take into account the real world outside the United states of the known universe ?? A tragedy is the waste of time I have been subjecting myself to in order to read and reply to your drivel.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-03 15:51

      @James Care to give citations for that nonsense or you just made it up?

      Godfrey - 2012-02-03 15:54

      @James Are you perhaps lying for Jesus? You do realise that by sprouting such untruths you are "bearing false witness". How unfortunate if you now are no longer earmarked for that trip to heaven.

      GaryWatson - 2012-02-03 16:03

      like they say, 80% of statistics are made up on the spot. but making things up and saying them out loud is kinda like fibbing. and fibbing is actually one of the ten commandments. and when I last looked... falling in love with someone of the same sex wasn't

      Nadine Booyse - 2012-02-03 21:51

      Most of those figures you are quoting can also be linked to depression. Just a thought.

      Nadine Booyse - 2012-02-03 22:02

      500-1000 sex partners in a lifetime, not so sure on that, I'm on number 4 so far, damn I better do some catching up..... HIV aids, yes a horrible disease, but don't start linking it homosexuality. because more HIV is spread around the world by hetrosexual people. And more people have contracted aids worried wide from other means besides sex, ie broken skin, blood transfusions, reusing needles or being exposed to blood in other ways.

      peterjohnjnb - 2012-02-04 08:19

      500 - 1000 partners in our lifetimes?????? JISSIS! I have got some SERIOUS catching up to do! Boy there is a party happening somewhere and I am CLEARLY not invited. Though perhaps, I'll ask my Friend Gerhard if he would like to go, because he has a rather impressive 400+ on his bed post.....oh but wait....he is a heterosexual...... James, you need to stop reading Ku Klux Klan weekly and get some real facts...and if you think that Dahmer is the WORST serial killer to hit are so far behind you think you are first. Perhaps spend more time getting educated and less time being bigoted.

  • John Wrenlatorre - 2012-02-03 15:48

    James dearest. You are a genius. You know so many figures. Well done. Pity you cant tell your backside from your elbow. Wake up dude.

  • John Wrenlatorre - 2012-02-03 16:11

    Why is it that it is always the religious extremists that promote so much hate. I may be wrong but the bible I read and the God I learned about, did not hate.

      Godfrey - 2012-02-03 16:54

      That pretty well encapsulates all the reasons I hate religion. At the end of the day, it's all ugly, petty, inhumane tripe.

      John Wrenlatorre - 2012-02-03 18:19

      I don't hate them. That makes me sad. I feel sorry for these people. It must be very depressing going through life with so much hatred for others. I don't understand how they believe that a God that loves so much, would want them to hate so much.

      Thuthukile Madlabane - 2012-02-03 19:49

      There you're right John, the Lord loves everyone good or bad but He also wants us to obey him. If you have read your bible as you claim, you will know that God is against gay/lesbian people. That is why it says in the bible a man shall live his father and mother and be united with his wife Genesis 2:24. It did not say a woman should live her parents and be united with a woman. All in all God loves us all but being gay/lesbian is just wrong its there in the bible in black and white.

      Nadine Booyse - 2012-02-03 21:46

      If this Christian god is so good and great why is so much evil done in his name, especially by the believers who constantly quote scriptures. Why is it just do hard to mind your own f$&@ business. If god hates me for being lgbt then that's between me and your god. We will deal with it when I'm dead.

      Thuthukile Madlabane - 2012-02-03 22:05

      @ Inis hey what happened to freedom of speech i can express my opinions if i want to, it does not matter whether i'm American or not. You may have your faith and you may live in America or elsewhere in the world but we all have the same bible i believe also i believe there're Christians in America who are agaisnt this, if you read your bible upside down not my problem and i'm not judging you im just saying what is in the bible. You have your belief i have mine.

      Nadine Booyse - 2012-02-03 22:38

      @ Thuthukela- you are right, there are so many Christians out there that are as close minded as you. The bible is full of stories from over 2000 years ago, if you are a real christian and have read that book cover to cover, you may have come across a line that says " love thy neighbor". Can you honestly say that sticking your nose where it don't belong is loving thy neighbor. That goes to all the Christians who can't just let people be.

  • Inis - 2012-02-03 20:18

    The article quotes Chris Plante. But, Christopher Plante is a known and documented liar. He lies. For proof see:

  • John Wrenlatorre - 2012-02-03 20:25

    I guess that means that a man or woman that does leave home or leaves home and does not join a wife or husband is also wrong in Gods eyes.

      Thuthukile Madlabane - 2012-02-03 22:25

      Nope John that is you saying what is in your mind it is not what is in the bible, i like the fact that you said 'you guess' well sori to disappoint you but you guessed wrong. In fact God is also happy if you live home and not unit but remain a virgin 1 Corinthians 7:38 but if you interested read the whole chapter for understanding.

  • dennis.soper - 2012-02-03 22:24

    The Fundamentalist scum need to realize that their day is over.

  • peterjohnjnb - 2012-02-04 08:26

    arrrrgggghhhh!!!!!!!! For how much longer are decent people going to be forced to live under the scourge of Christianity - or religion for that matter? Just who exactly are these people who insist on thinking that because they chose to believe in a 2000 year old myth that the rest of us should be subject to that daft, antiquated belief? I certainly support freedom of speech - I may not like what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it...even the horrible stuff about gays. But since we're sharing, here's a thought: I suggest we recall the pre-Christian Roman empire and immediately resume the crucifixion of Christians! Who's with me?????? Seem stupid? OF COURSE IT BLOODY DOES! Any right minded person would think so - so then, here's a thought...don't mean to take away or for that matter DICTATE my rights as a gay man and I won't take away or mean to take away your right to believe in your potty bible, deal?

  • pages:
  • 1