Marriage Equality in WA Already Under Attack

The signature of Washington State Gov. Christine Gregoire was not even dry on the state’s new marriage equality law before the deep-pocketed rightwing anti-gay marriage machine hummed to life with the aim of collecting 120,577 valid voter signatures before June 6 to put Referendum 73 on the ballot to repeal the new law.

“NOM is joining with the Family Policy Institute of Washington, Stand for Marriage Washington, Concerned Women for America and hundreds of other groups, pastors and individuals to take this issue directly to the people in November via a referendum,” the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown breathlessly proclaimed in an email to supporters.

It’s breathtaking to comprehend just how much money those organizations together will spend to ensure that Adam and Steve or Eve and Eva will not be allowed to draw up a contract between themselves and the government that is commonly called “marriage.”

In 2010, NOM raised $9.6 million in the fight against marriage equality, and spent more than $10 million – all to keep loving couples of the same gender as strangers in the eyes of the law. I’m sure all those hungry, homeless people in our nation are glad someone is fighting for their right to never worry about finding enough money to buy a gift for a same-sex wedding.

That vast money machine must work quickly, however, or there will be a lot of June marriages in the State of Washington.

For the moment though, marriage equality supporters are glowing over the news that their state joins six others, and Washington, D.C. in recognizing same-sex couples.

“No matter what the future holds, nothing will take this moment in history away from us,” Sen. Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat who is gay and has sponsored gay rights legislation for years, told the cheering crowd.

Joining in the glowering, however, was GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum who campaigned in the state just hours before the bill was signed. He met with a group of anti-marriage equality campaigners at a church in Olympia, Wash., telling them “to keep up the fight, that this is an important issue for our families; it is an important issue for religious liberty.”

Santorum vowed to push through a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman should the country see fit to make him president next November. Until then, the fight for marriage equality continues unabated with New Jersey’s State Senate approving marriage equality by a vote of 24-16 this week. The House is expected to follow suit even though Gov. Chris Christie has threatened a veto. That threat comes as polls show a majority of Garden State residents approve of marriage equality (54% to 35%), with, of course, the exception being evangelical Christians, 7 out of every 10 of whom oppose marriage equality.

Two other states, North Carolina and Minnesota, will vote on anti-marriage equality amendments to their state constitutions.

While the overall news on marriage equality continues to be a mixed bag, the issues remain the same with “religious liberty” being used as the red herring to beat back the homosexual threat. But, as the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has so deftly observed: “You’ve confused a war on religion with not always getting what you want.”