On February 8th, the Washington state legislature completed its process to allow same-sex couples to “marry” beginning this summer. Gov. Christine Gregoire has already promised to sign the legislation, meaning that the people’s referendum and a vote in November is the next step to see whether same-sex “marriage” will truly take root in Washington.
In the interim, it’s important for Washingtonians to note that legislators in their state passed the measure with a wink and nod. Although supporters of the measure have indicated it will not infringe on the religious freedom of those who do not condone such “marriages,” multiple amendments to protect the conscience/religious freedom rights of all Washingtonians were considered and rejected.
As a result, many of the claims regarding the pending Washington legislation simply cannot be squared with reality.
For example, many supporters of same-sex “marriage” have compared the legislature’s actions to similar statutes which have been implemented in other places around the nation, most recently in New York, to show how mainstream it is. However, what they don’t mention is the utter hostility that now exists toward conscientious dissenters in New York—hostility that has led to the loss of jobs over an employee’s refusal to go violate their conscience. Nor do they mention the fact that the Washington measure, like the laws in Massachusetts and D.C., won’t protect adoption service providers.
Other amendments that the legislature rejected would’ve protected small businesses like Elane Photography, or licensed professionals like Marcia Walden, or even fertility doctors, to say nothing about public employees like first responders. This is unfortunate, as the fervor to redefine marriage and make the jobs of “mother” and “father” meaningless is now poised to exact additional collateral damage to Main Street Washingtonians.
And in the midst of all the talk about “equality” and “neutrality,” the state of Washington continues its relentless persecution of pharmacists who possess conscientious objections to distributing pharmaceuticals that destroy innocent human life. We all know that there are plenty of pharmacies where someone can get abortifacients, but the state apparently has no tolerance for those who do not “conform.”
Austin R. Nimocks is senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that has defended marriage and religious liberty in courts throughout the U.S.