Joseph Backholm: Vote against Referendum 74, which redefines marriage

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Joseph Backholm, the chair of Preserve Marriage Washington, carries one of the first boxes of petitions for Referendum 74 into the Secretary of State's office to stop Washington's gay marriage law Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. The law was blocked from taking effect as opponents filed more than 200,000 signatures seeking a public vote on the issue in November. Preserve Marriage Washington submitted the signatures just a day before the state was to begin allowing same-sex marriages. State officials will review the filings over the next week to determine whether the proposed referendum will qualify for a public vote, though the numbers suggest the measure will make the ballot easily.

Elaine Thompson, Associated Press

Our take:A Seattle Times guest columnist, Jason Backholm, writes his view of Referendum 74, which asks Washington voters to accept or reject a 2012 bill legalizing same-sex marriage. According to Backholm, the referendum's true focus is on redefining the purpose of marriage and not legal rights.

Referendum 74 is about the definition of marriage. Its not an issue of legal rights.

In 2009, voters approved the Everything but Marriage law which grants same-sex couples every right and benefit of marriage.

Nor is it about civil rights. While everyone has the right to get married, there is no right to marry whomever you want. Therefore, the question is whether marriage should be defined as the union of a man and a woman or just any two persons.

This decision requires us to consider the purpose of marriage. Voters have two choices. One side argues that the purpose of marriage is to affirm the love and commitment adults share. Our love and commitment is the same, same-sex couples argue. We should be able to get married.

Read more about Vote against Referendum 74, which redefines marriage on Seattle Times.

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