R-71: Where Do the Candidates Stand?

By Josh Feit August 31, 2009

The first candidate out of the gate with an official statement on R-71 , a ballot measure that will effectively ratify or overturn legislation passed in Olympia last year giving domestic partners all the same rights and responsibilities as marriage — is mayoral candidate and T-Mobile executive Joe Mallahan.

His press release supporting gay rights says:

Seattle, Wash. -- Monday, August 31, Seattle mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan expressed deep disappointment in Referendum 71 qualifying for the November ballot.

“This is a sad day in Washington state history.  We should be working together to protect the rights of citizens – all citizens – not working to overturn them.

“This is about human dignity and civil rights that should be equal rights.  It saddens me that making basic civil rights equal for all is still up for debate.  It is preposterous to me that a small group of people can push a referendum to strip away rights from any group of people.

“I am hopeful that this will only help unite Washingtonians and show those who organized this hateful campaign that they do not represent Washington state’s values.  We will loudly proclaim we are a state that believes in equal rights for everyone.”

Mallahan was the only mayoral candidate to get  straight A's from SEAMEC , the local gay and lesbian canditate rating group. However, T-Mobile got a score of just 50 percent from the Human Rights Campaign, the national gay rights group.

We haven't seen a statement from Mallahan's opponent, environmental activist Mike McGinn, who got two A's and three B's from SEMEC, although ended up with the same overall rating as Mallahan—"Meets Expectations."

As for other local candidates, PubliCola contacted the two King County Executive candidates' campaigns to find out where each stands on the referendum.

King County Council Member Dow Constantine said in a statement:
“While this is disappointing news, we must come together as a community and affirm an important law that speaks to our core values and is a long overdue step for equality.

"I remain confident that Washington State voters – and particularly the people of King County -- will stand up for fairness by upholding the state's domestic partnership bill. That bill recognizes the right of people in committed domestic partnerships to full legal protections—in effect, to the creation of full civil unions for gay and lesbian couples in Washington State."

Former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison's campaign  has not responded.

As has been widely reported, Hutchison says she is not a Republican . However that does not square with her history of supporting Republican candidates and causes , as well as giving money to the Republican Party.

According to the Faith and Freedom Network blog (F&FN is the Christian Right lobby in Washington State that initially pushed R-71), the Washington State Republican Party voted to support overturning the domestic partners legislation this weekend at its quarterly meeting in Wenatchee.

WSRP spokesman Patrick Bell has not confirmed this for PubliCola.


Bell sent us the following statement:
On Saturday, by vote of our State Committee meeting in Wenatchee, the Washington State Republican Party endorsed the rejection of Referendum 71 by the voters in November, should it qualify for the ballot. Now that R-71 has qualified for the ballot, WSRP Chairman Luke Esser offered the following statement:

"The Washington State Republican Party is urging voters to reject Referendum 71 at the ballot in November. Supporters of the “everything but marriage” bill have made it clear that their bill is just the latest installment of an effort to mandate gay marriage in our state. The choice is clear for those who do not support gay marriage. Now that R-71 has qualified for the ballot, the voters will have the final say. Over the next two months it’s important for voters to educate themselves on this measure and make sure their voice is heard at the ballot box."


Mike McGinn called to give a statement:
"I support domestic partnerships and full marriage equality. I'm disappointed that this made the ballot."

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