Washington State Finalizes Marriage Equality Ballot Language

Washington state has finalized the language for Referendum 74, a vote to approve the state’s new marriage equality law. The wording remains incredibly straight forward, without any of conservatives’ “redefine marriage” rehtoric:

Ballot Title
The legislature passed Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6239 concerning marriage for same-sex couples, modified domestic-partnership law, and religious freedom, and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

This bill would allow same-sex couples to marry, preserve domestic partnerships only for seniors, and preserve the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform, recognize, or accommodate any marriage ceremony.

Should this bill be:

Approved [ ]

Rejected [ ]

Ballot Measure Summary
This bill allows same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses. After 2014, existing domestic partnerships are converted to marriages, except for seniors. It preserves the right of clergy or religious organizations to refuse to perform or recognize any marriage or accommodate wedding ceremonies. The bill does not affect licensing of religious organizations providing adoption, foster-care, or child-placement.

The refreshing simplicity of this description is a reminder of how those opposed to marriage equality have distorted the “religious freedom” argument. This law protects religious freedom by not imposing same-sex marriage on any religious organization. No doubt, opponents will still argue that they should not have to recognize same-sex marriages in any aspect of society, an abuse of religious freedom and open intention to violate the law.