The Seattle Times: Foes of same-sex marriage get inventive with campaign to defeat R-74

Voter approval of Referendum 74 must get by the political playbook of creative opponents inventing scare tactics to reject it.

Seattle Times Editorial

Opponents of same-sex marriage in Washington argue it would drive up the cost of gasoline, raise utility bills and make coffee taste funny.

No, the anti-Referendum 74 campaign has not made those claims, at least not yet, but it has been forced to invent excuses.

The legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire is honest, true and compelling on a human scale. Allowing same-sex couples to marry is about love, commitment and families.

Respect for those basic values, and those who want to formally embrace them with a public and legal covenant of marriage, runs deep in Washington state.

Foes of Referendum 74 know they lose badly in a straightforward assessment of the issue. This is not about those anonymous gays. The measure before voters is about family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers, not the poll-tested caricatures of a political consultant on retainer.

How does the National Organization for Marriage and Preserve Marriage Washington hope to reject Referendum 74?

By inventing legalistic contrivances that foresee lawsuits, business difficulties and make-believe invasions of personal rights. The template is virtually unchanged from the imagined horrors of desegregation in the Deep South.

The Times profile of Frank Schubert, by reporter Lornet Turnbull, was particularly insightful. Schubert, a political consultant, travels around the country opposing gay-rights legislation.

The ad campaign against Referendum 74 is shaped by Schubert’s number crunching and parsing of poll data. Pesky Washington is a particular challenge because residents actually do believe in letting people live their own lives.

Schubert’s family goes to the heart of this issue. Turnbull’s report noted that his sister is a lesbian raising children with her partner. Schubert’s sister is also a deputy district attorney running for Superior Court judge in Sacramento County.

So how does his work get explained within his family? “I love my sister dearly,” he told Turnbull. “That’s a difficult area.”

Schubert was brought in from out of state to manage a campaign for which he has no credible arguments. Same-sex marriage is about and between couples. Respect their love and commitment.

Approve Referendum 74. Let friends, neighbors and, yes, siblings, live their lives.