SEPARATE IS NEVER EQUAL
My partner Rick and I were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts back in 2004.
We were living in Florida at the time, so while the marriage was symbolically important to us, it carried no legal weight.
In fact, we spent thousands of dollars in legal fees to establish a trust and “marriage-like” contract when we decided we wanted to protect our relationship.
We relocated to Woodinville at the end of 2004 and were ecstatic when the state passed a domestic partnership law in 2007.
While it only included 11 of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples, it was a start.
A year later, another 170 rights and responsibilities were approved, and in 2009 “everything but marriage” was signed into law.
While the law provided real protections to same-sex partners, it still implied “separate but equal.”
Separate is never equal.
We work hard at our relationship, just like every other married couple should.
It involves commitment, communication, patience and strong beliefs. These are some of the foundations of every marriage that we respect and honor equally with opposite-sex couples.
Our friends and neighbors here in Woodinville recognize that and value our contributions to their families, the city and local businesses.
Kudos to the Washington Senate for doing the right thing, and particularly to our representative, Andy Hill, for taking a difficult stand against his party’s position on gay marriage.
We look forward to renewing our vows in our home state this summer.
Steven Franz, Woodinville
LET THE PEOPLE DEBATE AND VOTE
After reading Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe’s letter to the editor, I would like to share my thoughts:
Sen. McAuliffe thinks her support of same sex marriage is to protect citizens from discrimination.
Following this logic, any person or group against same-sex marriage must be supporting discrimination.
She then assured us that there is an exemption for religious groups to continue to exercise religious freedom.
Based on this context, I guess the religious freedom Sen. McAuliffe mentioned must refer to actions against same sex marriage which are also actions of discrimination according to Sen. McAuliffe.
So it looks to me that the “exemption for them to continue to exercise religious freedom” will actually be an exemption to exercise “discrimination.”
I don’t see why we would give an exemption for any groups to continue to exercise “discrimination.”
However, I don’t think discrimination is the only reason people oppose same- sex marriage.
Throughout human history, in any society, in any culture, marriage is always defined as the union of man and woman.
Whether or not it is written into a law or whether it is written as the union of “two persons” or “one man and one woman,” society recognizes this special relationship of man and woman is the only way the next generation can be created.
The next generation is always key for a civilization to survive.
That is why, until recently, all societies or cultures recognize and define marriage as the union of man and woman because this is the only natural way to have children and form a natural family.
This is a law of nature, a fundamental biological fact.
Thus, there is no marriage inequality in the U.S. based on this common definition of marriage.
Now if someone thinks our society is sophisticated enough to redefine marriage, let the people debate and vote on it.
But don’t call it marriage equality legislation.
That is actually marriage redefinition legislation.
Using “discrimination” to preempt any legitimate opposing arguments reminds me of Anderson’s tale “The Emperor’s New Suit.”
Just as people did not want to be considered “stupid” in the story, people may choose silence on this issue because they don’t want to be labeled as “discriminatory.”
It would not be a fair process if people are hindered from freely expressing their view on this issue.
Jun Tang, Woodinville
STATE DOESN’T NEED TO SUPPORT BEST FRIENDS
I am responding to Senator Rosemary McAuliffe’s statement endorsing same- sex marriages.
I wish to begin by recognizing that Senator McAuliffe is a good person who cares deeply about the state of Washington.
The issue of same sex marriages has been framed by the politics of discrimination.
I believe the instinct to fight against discrimination is a holy one, but it is not discrimination to say that biologically a father cannot be a mother, a mother cannot be a father and a child cannot be a child without a biological father and a mother.
Because it takes a couple decades to raise children into adulthood, marriage throughout the centuries has been best understood as between one man and one woman who make a lifelong commitment to each other.
Everyone can have a best friend.
Marriage is something more. I don’t think the state needs to give special recognition and help to those who have a best friend other than what can better stated in a living will or other legal documents.
It makes sense that the state would give special recognition and help to married couples who raise families because of the common good of having a next generation and the significant cost and sacrifice involved with this vocation.
I personally believe the state would be better off doing more to support single parents as well as supporting adoption services for married couples who cannot have children. I know the senator cares deeply about these issues as well.
Fr. Frank Schuster, Pastor, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Woodinville
HOMEWARD PET ADOPTION CENTER CELEBRATES 22 YEARS
February marks the 22nd year for Homeward Pet Adoption Center, one of Washington’s biggest no-kill animal shelters.
Operating in a 1,200-square- foot space and under the name Hooterville Pet Safehaus, the organization helped 370 animals in 1990.
2012 finds Homeward Pet in an 11,200 square foot shelter, adopting over 1,300 animals into permanent, loving homes each year, and helping many more through their low-cost spay and neuter clinic, microchipping services and the newly opened pet food bank.
Throughout the month of February, events are planned to celebrate all that Homeward Pet and their amazing community of donors and volunteers have achieved over the last 22 years and to help even more animals.
On February 1 Homeward Pet kicked-off its goal of securing 220 $22-donations.
Just $22 goes a long way toward helping a homeless animal; paying for care like a month’s worth of food for a large dog, vaccinations to help prevent life-threatening illness in a cat for a year or enough canned food to feed a litter of kittens for a week.
Donations can be made online at homewardpet.org.
February 22 is the 22nd anniversary adoption event, with adoption fees discounted to $22 all day, for kittens, puppies, cats and dogs.
Anyone considering providing a permanent home to a deserving cat or dog should visit Homeward Pet during this event, and if a perfect match is made, take advantage of the discounted adoption fee.
Homeward Pet was established in 1990 by founder Peggy Barnish, with the belief that there could be an animal shelter where euthanasia was a last resort, used only to ease suffering from injury or illness, and where every adoptable cat and dog would eventually find their forever home. With the help of their generous supporters.
Homeward Pet has continued with this belief and helped rescue, shelter and adopt over 19,000 cats and dogs since 1990.
Located in Woodinville, Homeward Pet Adoption Center (Homeward Pet) is a no-kill, non-profit animal adoption center.
Homeward Pet cares for homeless animals from all over Washington state, whether surrendered by owners, transferred from other rescue organizations or removed from shelters that euthanize.
For more than 20 years, Homeward Pet has given these animals a second chance through rescue, shelter and adoption.
With the amazing efforts of 16 employees, 200 volunteers and the generous support of donors, Homeward Pet helps over 1,300 dogs and cats find their forever home each year.
For more information, please visit www.homewardpet.org.