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Washington state papers endorse marriage equality in referendum

At least five major Washington state newspapers have endorsed Referendum 74 and the state’s marriage equality law.

The most recent endorsements came over the weekend from The Columbian, which serves the greater Vancouver area; the Seattle Times; The Spokesman Review, with a circulation in Spokane and the surrounding towns; and The News Tribune, which serves Pierce County.

Each paper published an editorial supporting the marriage equality law that passed earlier this year but was challenged by a coalition of Christian right groups.

The Columbian stated, “Some will argue that gays and lesbians already have all the necessary legal rights, so why do we have to allow them to get married? That argument defeats itself. The more logical question: Since gays and lesbians already have all the necessary legal rights anyway, why NOT allow them to get married? Try as they might, the foes of R-74 cannot provide a compelling answer.”

The Spokesman said, “Quite simply, there is no government interest in limiting marriage to a man and a woman. Some critics say this special right is justified because government needs to promote the production of children. Yet, such couples can get married whether they have children or not. Many same-sex couples do raise children… Ultimately, marriage is a personal decision and should be treated as such.”

The Seattle Times, in addition to the editorial, established a website page where readers can share photographs of them holding an “I do Approve Referendum 74 Same Sex marriage” sign. The paper also published an inspirational story about how the family owners moved the editorial board to endorse domestic partnerships in 2000 and gay marriage in 2012.

Earlier in the month, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin endorsed marriage equality and a vote to affirm the law.

Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, said, “Taken together, these five papers represent distinct and very different regions of the state and show how broad and deep the support is for our bipartisan marriage law.”

Marriage-related questions are on ballots in four states. Voters in Maryland and Washington are deciding whether to keep their marraige equality laws. Voters in Maine are deciding whether to legalize gay marriage – again. And voters in Minnesota are deciding whether to amend their constitution against gay marriage, which already is not recognized in the state.

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