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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Ref. 71 up to voters: Will rights be granted?

Washington is a place of equality

Editor, The Times:

I was elated to read your editorial [“Basic fairness, equality for Washington families,” Opinion, Sept. 2] encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, upholding the domestic-partnership law, when it comes to the ballot this fall.

The Washington I know is a place where people of all different races, backgrounds, creeds and, yes, sexual orientations can live together in respect, tolerance and equality. It is on those values I hope voters will base their decision on Ref. 71.

This November, voters will face one question: Should this law be approved? I hope voters will also ask themselves another question: Should someone be allowed to commit themselves to someone they love? Truly, that’s all this issue asks, and there’s only one, simple answer.

Yes, I am a gay man. But I reject the notion that I am intrinsically inferior to others because of this. I hope voters will, too, by turning out to approve Referendum 71.

— Tucker Cholvin, Snohomish

Keep the conversation in the realm of executive responsibilities

King County executive candidates Dow Constantine and Susan Hutchison have weighed in on marriage benefits for same-sex partners. Now what?

This illustrates how far off base we have drifted in how we choose our elected officials and why they seem so incompetent when in office. Voters and the press continue to ask questions and probe positions that, while interesting, are irrelevant to officials’ jobs.

The current example of Referendum 71 and King County executive shows how we drift in how we choose our executive. What does Ref. 71 have to do with overseeing Metro transit and managing the aspects of the county that person is responsible for? Nothing.

Why don’t we get back to basics, and see how they are qualified for the job, not how they feel about social and political issues that are out of the scope of their jobs? While it may satisfy our curiosity to know how they feel about same-sex marriage, health-care reform or other popular debates, it obfuscates how competent they will be at the everyday tasks of their jobs.

That suitability will affect us directly. Valuing how they feel about Ref. 71 and other issues is exactly why Mayor Greg Nickels is being booted: He expended more effort toward posturing on global climate change and provided incompetent direct response to the snowfall in Seattle when that was the climate change he should have focused on.

King County executive hopefuls should be focusing on their executive skills, not political skills. Otherwise it’s just another snow job.

— Bob Johnson, Mercer Island

For referendum signers, no special protection

The attempts to block the release of petition-signer information by the backers of Referendum 71 [“Foes sue to block Referendum 71; backers can’t hide donors’ names,” NWFriday, Aug. 28] reminds me of a sketch from 1977’s crude “The Kentucky Fried Movie.”

The sketch has a daredevil wearing a fire suit, helmet and gloves walk up to a group of black men, yell the “n-word” at the top of his lungs and then run for his life.

The difference is that Ref. 71’s heroes want to replace the protective suit with blindfolds for the rest of us. The notion that the despicable and malicious nature of their speech entitles the signers’ to special protections from public censure is an absurd and disturbing perversion of the First Amendment.

— Jonathan Kallay, Seattle

Ref. 71 could be an infectious change

I predict Referendum 71 is going to become a big deal and a defining moment in the history of gay rights.

People have been choked by Proposition 8 in California passing. People have learned. This won’t happen again. It will be the beginning of a “Yes, we can” movement that is much bigger than the gay movement, a movement of “Yes, we can take care of our society and our people, no matter who they are.”

It will go well beyond Washington state.

— Emma Le Du, Seattle

Comments | More in Election, Families, Gay marriage, Gay rights, State initiatives, Washington Legislature


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