-- Amanda Alvine, Richland
Everyone who votes on R-74 this year needs to know this: No new rights or privileges are granted by this law. The current Revised Code of Washington states explicitly in multiple places that, "For the purposes of this code, with the exception of chapter 26.04 RCW, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement chapter 521, Laws of 2009, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships." (RCW 1.16.100 and 1.12.080). The only exception made? Actual rules for getting marriage licenses. Check it out yourself at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/
Ask yourself: Why does the state, the law, care about marriage at all? Because marriage generally tracks biology. Marriage is the most effective way to link children to their biological parents and link those parents to each other (so the child has access to both). Because kids need both a mom and a dad.
True, some bio parents endanger their kids, and some kids are missing parents. Adoption and other legal structures exist to take care of these exceptions -- but they are exceptions. Redefining marriage would further institutionalize the permanent exclusion of at least one bio parent (probably dad) from a child's life. And this would be done not to meet the needs of the child, but the desires of the adults. Already in state domestic partnerships, the female partner is considered the "other parent" of any babies her partner bears, even though 100 percent of the time she isn't. Should we spread this injustice to children further? Do we really want to remove gender and biological reality from marriage?