Yesterday my husband Dave and I chose to spend part of Halloween standing on a street corner in Tacoma, demonstrating for equal rights for all citizens. Those who put Initiative 71 before the people sought to over-turn the State of Washington’s “everything, but marriage, law” passed last year. Just when it seemed that Washington had struck a blow for fairness and enlightenment, the unenlightened Born Again Hypocrites in the state thought that they’d make and end-run around equality.
What drew us out despite our overwhelming belief that 71 will pass was the experience last weekend of a coworker who had demonstrated in front of Border’s Books on 38th in Tacoma. He was verbally abused by a church group demonstrating to reject the initiative. The story made its way around the local Facebook community and another rally was born. We were all excited when Dave decided to go across the street and stand with the Reject group. He left when they brought out a bull horn, but the Tacoma Police Department made them put it away.
Dave and I fail to see how allowing committed couples to make decisions about end of life issues, inheritance, and benefits impacts their lives. If anything, we see it as strengthening of the entire community of Americans. We also honor every American’s right to an opinion and free speech so we were respectful of the Slavic church group who showed up with their “one man, one woman, protect the children,” but really can’t understand how Initiative 71 is damaging to anyone’s children or marriage, especially since it has nothing to do with marriage. Of course they had the “slippery slope” theory which also doesn’t hold water since the fact that the heterosexual couple down the street gets a divorce or our homosexual friends are allowed to marry, impacts our marriage not in the least.
One of the beauties of American democracy is not only the right to free speech, but freedom of religion which means that no one can force their religious values down the throat of any other citizen. The Declaration of Independence was about the ideals of equality, opportunity, liberty, rights and democracy. We did not begin as a nation adhering to all of these ideals for every citizen, but we are an ever evolving society, seeking to make the dream come true for everyone.