Today was an exciting day. We are in Washington state. There is a push by the anti-gay forces in the state to repeal the Domestic Partnership legislation recently passed by the Washington legislature. Anti-gay organizations are trying to collect enough signatures to bring Referendum 71 to the ballot. This referendum seeks to repeal the Domestic Partnership Expansion Law of 2009, passed by the legislature, that gives registered domestic partners wherever they live in Washington many of the rights and protections already enjoyed by legally married couples.
If the backers of Referendum 71 collect enough signatures to get it on the November ballot, then the question on the ballot will be: Should this bill be approve or rejected?
The anti-gay organizations are using paid signature gatherers in attempt to collect the required number of signatures needed to put the referendum on the ballot. The signatures are due this Saturday.
While in Port Angeles, Washington, we stopped at WalMart for a quick minute. (Interesting Fact: Port Angeles, WA is where the book and film “Twilight” takes place.) As I was walking into WalMart, I was stopped by a signature gatherer who asked my opinion on same-sex marriage. I told him that I am gay and we had a long conversation about equal rights.
After I bought some medicine at the pharmacy, I came back out to the van and grabbed my camera. I filmed the man collecting signatures for a bit, then I went over to talk with him. He was friendly and let me film him for a while.
We talked about his personal beliefs about same-sex marriage. He is in favor of equal marriage rights and would vote against the referendum if it gets on the ballot. He went on for a while about how gays deserve the same rights and that the church is wrong for trying to take those rights away. It was an interesting conversation.
Then it got even more interesting. He approached a woman and asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. When she said yes, he handed her the clipboard to sign the referendum. She though she was signing in favor of equal marriage. He tricked her, right in front of me, on camera. I called him out on it.
He said to her:
“Did you get a chance to sign our petition? We’re giving you an opportunity to decided whether or not you are in favor of giving homosexual couples legal marriage licenses. Not just the same rights as married people, but a marriage license too. Do you have an opinion on that? Yes? No? Or don’t Care?”
The woman said yes, that she will sign, and he handed her the clipboard. It was obvious to me that she was signing what she thought was a petition in favor or giving same-sex couples marriage licenses. So I asked her if she supports same-sex marriage. She said that she did.
That is not it. The bigger deal is that, to collect signatures, he is telling people that the referendum is to stop same-sex couples from getting marriage licenses. That is not true. He is telling folks that same-sex couples would still receive all the rights of marriage with Domestic Partnerships, when in fact, the referendum they are signing has nothing to do with marriage; it would repeal the Domestic Partnership law.
Unfortunately, at the time, I had no idea that he was lying about Referendum 71 being about marriage, not domestic partnerships. I just got into the state and knew nothing about the petition. I believed him when he said it was about marriage. It wasn’t until the next day, when I showed the footage to Equal Rights Washington that I learned he was even lying about the goals of the referendum.
I called my friend Josh, who is the Advocacy Director at Equal Rights Washington and told him about the footage. He was excited about it and asked me if he could use it on the campaign against the referendum. I am giving him a copy of the footage to expose the fraudulent signature gathering.
There is a lot more I could say about this interaction, but just watch the video. It is incredible.
If you like what we are doing, please help us continue the project by making a contribution.