This election season, Washington voters will be asked to either approve or reject Referendum 71, regarding whether or not to keep the state’s existing domestic partnership law intact.
There are over 12,000 registered domestic partnerships in the state of Washington and a vote to approve Referendum 71 will ensure that important protections for these families are protected. Voting to approve Referendum 71 will guarantee all families the same protections under the law, including the right to take medical leave to care for an ailing family member, collect worker’s compensation and pensions, and have insurance coverage. The referendum ensures that important protections will not be taken away from committed couples and that they will continue to be able to take care of each other, especially in times of crisis.
The domestic partnership legislation was signed into law in May of this year but before it could take effect in July, the opposition presented the Secretary of State’s office with barely enough valid signatures opposing the law to force a referendum vote.
This is an important issue for GLAAD and the LGBT community as a whole. GLAAD was the first national organization on the ground in Washington beginning in mid-September. GLAAD has assisted the campaign with fielding reporter inquiries, pitching stories, promoting letters to the editors, developing positive messages, and spreading the word about this important law. This week the campaign released it’s first television advertisement, “Together," that will begin playing in Washington immediately.
Major contributors to Approve Referendum 71 include companies vital to Washington’s economy, including: Microsoft, Puget Sound Energy, Boeing, Nike, RealNetworks and Vulcan Development. High profile endorsements have also flooded in from the Seattle Times, the Olympian, The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Washington State Bar Association, the Children’s Alliance, and the Washington Association of Churches, just to name a few.
The Washington Families Standing Together coalition and their supporters encourages Washington voters to mail in their ballots early and to vote to APPROVE Referendum 71.
The ballot will read as follows:
REFERENDUM 71 Ballot Title Statement of Subject:
The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners [and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill].
Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.
Should this bill be:
Approved ___ Rejected __