Lawmakers in Washington state chose this past Monday, Valentine's Day, as the day they would introduce legislation that would no longer restrict gays and lesbians from their right to marry.
That would make Valentine's Day a real holiday.
But it wasn't always so. Back in the Dark Ages, around 1998, on Valentine's Day, the state Legislature enshrined discrimination into law by overriding the veto of then-Governor Gary Locke to approve the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act."
Now, however, two Democrats, Jim Moeller and Ed Murray, want to change all that.
Jim Moeller: "Over the past several years, the Legislature and the public together have been steadily building a bridge to equality for gay and lesbian families," noting the passage of civil rights legislation in 2006 protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing, and financial transactions, and securing broader domestic partnership rights--including successfully fighting off the hostile Referendum 71 in 2009.
Ed Murray added: "We've made tremendous progress since 1998. Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy--except for the name ‘marriage’. The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the Legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step."
And to appease those who base their hatred and bigotry on the Scriptures, Moeller and Murray's legislation protects religious freedom and the rights of clergy and religious institutions to determine for whom to perform marriage ceremonies and which marriages to recognize for their religious purposes.
And, gays and lesbians, and their heterosexual counterparts, would still have the rights to choose domestic partnership over marriage.
Sounds simple, and fair, right? Perhaps someone from Washington state should talk to Indiana--see post below--about fairness, and marriage, and equality.