Will Washington State’s Voter Initiative Become another “Mormon Proposition”?

Is the LDS Church on its way to involving itself in another Prop 8-like  showdown? It’s too early to tell but we do know that there’s been some talking going on.

According to Mormons for Marriage, Less than 24 hours after filing  Referendum 74 with the state’s attorney general’s office, “Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington and John Paulton of Focus on the Family (has) met with “Mormon Church Leaders” in Washington.  A staffer at the Family Policy Institute initially disclosed the meeting by phone, the meeting was later confirmed directly by Joseph Backholm.”

Backholm is a real sweet guy.  On the day Washington’s Governor signed the marriage equality bill, His group released a statement indicating marriage should only be used in cases of baby manufacturing,”Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for good reason,” wrote Backholm. “Marriage is society’s way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father – the people responsible for bringing them into the world.”

Meanwhile, Focus on the Family can’t really afford to be a player in the hate game without the LDS church’s involvement.  It’s been a little strapped for cash as of late. The Christian Post reported last fall Focus on the Family’s, “budget declined from $160 million for fiscal year 2008-2009 to $138 million for 2009-2010, and is expected to continue its downward slide for the current fiscal year.”

According to MSNBC,”The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been criticized for strongly encouraging its members to support Proposition 8, assigned a dollar value of nearly $190,000 to its role in getting the California initiative passed. More than half, or $97,000, went to the time staff of the Utah-based Mormon Church devoted to the Yes on 8 campaign, according to the church’s report. Another $21,000 was for the use of church buildings and equipment during the campaign. Most of the rest went to airline tickets, hotels and meals for church officials.”

That $190,000 doesn’t include the vast number of church members who attended anti-equality “firesides”, volunteered with “Yes” on Prop 8, or gave donations of their own.

Mormons for Marriage points out that,”It is unknown what was discussed or agreed to at (this weeks) meeting, or which church leaders attended.”

For a good idea of just how large the church’s role in Prop 8 was, be sure to check out the documentary, 8: A Mormon Proposition:

 

 

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Watch: WA “Radical Elements” Protest Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum

As Idaho prepares to welcome Mr. Mix to Boise tonight, it might be helpful to review how exactly he feels about those who believe in marriage equality and the rest of the 99% of America.

According to Think Progress,”Occupy Wall Street protesters nearly drowned out Rick Santorum for 44 minutes as he tried to deliver remarks at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Washington on Monday night. Speaking from a balcony, Santorum sought to condemn the state’s newly enacted same-sex marriage law and the Ninth Circuit’s ruling against Proposition 8, but was repeatedly interrupted by protesters yelling, “we are the 99 percent.”

Looking all the part of a scary political dictator, Santorum told the protesters to “go out and get a job,” he then described the protesters as a “radical element” that represents “true intolerance.

 

 

“Santorum has pledged to annul all same-sex marriage around the country and he met with opponents of marriage equality just hours after Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) approved a measure that would allow gays and lesbians to marry in Washington state,” Think Progress reports.

According to a Facebook  event page, Santorum will be making an appearance in the Capitol High School Auditorium, 8055 Goddard Road in Boise on Tuesday night, February 14th from 7:00-8:00 pm.

“Please come to Capitol High School (address above), prepared with signs, glitter (if wanted) and video cameras so we can catch him and his glorious sweater-vest in action. It would also be nice to show the nation where Idaho really stands on LGBT rights,” reads the page.

The fact that it’s Valentines day is not lost on protest organizers,” What better way to celebrate loving who you love than to throw it in Santorum’s face for an hour?”

Organizers of tonight’s protest in Boise warn that  security may be high.  “Arrive early so you can get in. You may want to wear a large jacket and roll your signs inside your sleeve around your arm to sneak it in. Conceal everything in a way to not be found,” writes one  Facebook commenter.

Signed! Washington State becomes 7th in Nation to Uphold Marriage Equality!

With the stroke of a pen, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation that legalizes same-gender marriage in the Evergreen State Monday.

During a signing ceremony, Gregoire got misty eyed as she thanked her two daughters and younger generations for leading the march to equality,”Our children will not have to bend on one knee and say,”will you civil union me,” but can say will you marry me,” said Gregoire.

According to Seattle PI,”Opponents have promised to fight back with a ballot measure that would allow voters to overturn it.” Gregoire said during the ceremony she believes Washington voters will say yes to marriage equality.

According to Reuters, “Several prominent Washington-based companies employing tens of thousands of workers in the state have supported the bill, including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks. Opponents were led by Catholic bishops and other religious conservatives.”

David Badash over at New Civil Rights Movement reports,”The law will become effective June 7, unless a petition drive is started and by June 6 successfully obtains 120,577 valid signatures asking for a referendum — allowing the voters to vote on marriage equality — for this November’s election.”

Gov. Gregoire has pledged to make an appeal to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) over similar legislation there. The legislation passed the New Jersey senate passed the bill 24-16 Monday. Christie has vowed to veto the bill in his state.

Expect an immediate anti-equality reaction from GOP Presidential candidate Rick “Frothy Mix” Santorum who is in Washington for a rally tonight. According to the Washington Post,”The results of the 2008 caucuses in Washington state suggest that Santorum, who is popular among social conservatives, could have a strong showing March 3.”

“Frothy Mix” will be in Idaho on Tuesday.

One Step Closer To Equality for All: Washington State Legislature Passes Marriage Bill!

In the second victory for marriage equality in as many days, house lawmakers in Washington have passed a bill that would make the recognition of marriage neutral. With a bi-partisan vote of 55-43, the bill now moves on to Governor Christine Gregoire, who announced last month that she intended to support the bill.

According to Routers,”Once the Washington state bill reaches Gregoire’s desk, she would have five days, not including Sunday, to sign it into law. It is a timetable that some speculated would lead to its enactment next Tuesday, Valentine’s Day. Still, the measure would not take effect before June 7, three months after the conclusion of the legislative session.

Those against they measure say they will fight back using one of two ballot measures; one calling for its repeal or one define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

“The former would need 241,153 signatures of registered voters by July 6 to secure a place on the November ballot. The latter would need just half the number of signatures by June 6. If a referendum qualifies for the November ballot, the gay marriage law would be suspended until the election and certification of returns, meaning December 6, before it is either repealed or goes into effect. Under the initiative process, by contrast, gay marriages could proceed on June 7, regardless of ballot-qualification efforts” Routers reports.

The full Senate passed the measure on a 28-21 vote last Wednesday.

The bill’s passage follows Tuesday’s victory in California, where a Ninth Circuit panel ruled  2:1 that Prop 8 was unfair to the state’s same-gender couples.

No One Spoke Up? Bullied Gay teen Commits Suicide in Washington

The mother of a Cashmere, Washington teen who took his life late last month says she had no idea what her son had been facing at school.

According to the The Wentachee World, 14-year-old Rafael Morelos hanged himself January 29th. Friends, family and community members who gathered during a candlelight vigil Friday night  said that he had been bullied because he was gay.

“He was tired of people saying that his little brothers would follow in his footsteps and be gay too,” Maranda Blankenship of Wenatchee told the newspaper.

Someone even went so far as to “create a fake Facebook page so he or she could talk to Rafael “rudely.”

Amazingly,”Rob Cline, principal at Cashmere Middle School, said by phone on Friday that there was no ongoing investigation into Rafael being bullied at the school.”

Authorities say Rafael reported one incident to school administrators but Cline says the school,”took appropriate action.”

His mother, Malinda Morelos, learned of the bullying her son endured while attending a candlelight vigil last week. Morelos, who knew her son was gay, tells The Wentachee World,”Almost all the kids here told me he was being bullied, There were at least 100 people at the vigil.”

Police say they too had no idea the teen had been a victim of bullying or harassment.

KIRO-TV reports that Malinda is trying to raise $4,000 for her son’s funeral. Click HERE to see the video report.

Need help? Visit The Trevor Project’s website or call them at 1-866-488-7386. In the U.S. you can also call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit stopbullying.govYou can also visit Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network’s (GLSEN) website for more resources.

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