Why it is important to vote yes for Washington state referendum 71
Once again I am reaching out beyond animals to address an issue dear to my heart. Referendum 71 is very important for many of my clients and many friends and it is important to me. This is a referendum about equality and about protecting those we love and brings up to the vote if it is right to discrimination against someone because of who they are.
The wording of this referendum is also confusing. A yes vote does nothing more than keeping a law that has already made it’s way through the state legislature. A no vote hurts families and says it is alright to legislate discrimination.
Many people are affected by this referendum both gay and straight.
How would you feel if the person you loved the most was hospitalized and you could not see them or be involved in their care? How would you feel if your partner was sick yet you could not take time away from work to care for them? How would you feel to welcome your newborn child but know that in the first month of their life you had no say over their care and they could be taken away from you at any moment if you partner became ill or died because your partner gave birth to them and you had to wait to legally adopt them?
How does this referendum affect our seniors?
Often seniors who are widowed or divorced will suffer serious economic hardship if they re-marry. Under Social Security, there is a ‘marriage penalty’ where seniors’ benefits are put in peril if they re-marry. For example, women who spent their working years as homemakers or in traditionally lower wage jobs often have to rely on a former spouse’s work history to receive Social Security benefits because benefits are generally based on 30 years of paid work experience. But if a senior re-marries after a divorce, she will no longer be able to rely on her former spouse’s work history to receive Social Security benefits. Once stripped of her Social Security benefits, she would face poverty and be forced to work well into her senior years to provide for her basic needs. Many seniors would also have to pay additional taxes on their Social Security benefits if they re-marry. Some elders end up sacrificing hard-earned health care, military or pension benefits if they re-marry. The domestic partnership law allows unmarried senior couples to have the legal protections they need, take care of each other, be able to provide insurance or take family or medical leave if a partner is gravely ill, and make critical decisions for one another in times of crisis, without losing benefits that for many may be their only source of income. They should not have to live in poverty in order to be together with the person they love.
Protect All Families
There are over 12,000 people in Washington state registered in domestic partnerships. These families live in every county, in all parts of the state. The domestic partnership law ensures that all of these families have the same protections and responsibilities as their neighbors, regardless of where they live.
Gay and lesbian families need domestic partnership laws to provide essential protections for their families. Committed couples who want to take care of each other should be allowed to visit each other in the hospital, take family and medical leave when a loved one is seriously ill, and have insurance coverage. By voting to Approve Referendum 71, you will vote to ensure that all families are provided the same protections under the law.
Families with children need the protections provided by domestic partnership laws, especially when a parent dies. By voting to Approve Referendum 71, you will vote to ensure that all children are provided the same protections under the law.
Seniors need the protections provided by domestic partnership laws. For seniors, domestic partnerships mean that their hard-earned social security, military or pension benefits are not put at risk. By voting to Approve Referendum 71, you will vote to ensure that all seniors are provided the same protections under the law.
Police officers and firefighters who risk their lives to protect our communities need domestic partnership laws if they are hurt or killed in the line of duty, so that their families are taken care of by their pension or workers’ compensation. By voting to Approve Referendum 71, you will vote to ensure that all of our communities’ first responders’ families are provided the same protections under the law.
This referendum is supported by a large and diverse religious community, see Faith leaders’ statement of support for Washington families and domestic partnership law and by a diverse group of northwest organizations.
Please help give everyone the right to protect their families and be with their loved ones in times of crisis. Vote yes on referendum 71!
Update November 6, 2009 Referendum 71 has passed!!!
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