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February 3, 2012 at 5:00 PM

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Marriage equality for same-sex couples editorial

This is a pro-family campaign

Washington state is ready to offer marriage equality for LGBT and straight couples — in both name and in practice [“Lawmakers — step up for same-sex marriage,” Opinion, Jan. 31].

Marriage is about respect, dignity, love and commitment. This is the ultimate pro-family campaign.

As families across the state struggle to hold and find jobs, and to keep their families warm and safe, we can take this step to make sure that all families are protected and included in our social and economic systems.

The foundation of marriage helps build stable families. All couples in loving and committed relationships should be given the opportunity to create stronger and more successful families through civil marriage.

We want to be very clear: We are asking for civil marriage. If lesbian and gay marriages are legalized, churches still would not be required to perform them just as the First Amendment protects. Lesbian and gay couples who marry in civil ceremonies would be recognized by the state.

The respect, protection and commitment that marriage represents should be available to all loving couples in Washington.

Though we come from different parts of Washington state, we are united in ensuring that all Washingtonians can build a loving family, which is recognized under the law, with the person of our choosing.

There is growing support across the state to strengthen families and give all couples the chance to show their love and commitment through civil marriage — including the name. Across Washington state and the nation, the majority of citizens now support marriage equality.

Now is the time for marriage equality in Washington state!

— Brandon Arkell, Seattle

The state should support traditional marriage

I believe it is a compassionate instinct to fight against discrimination. However, it is not discrimination to say a father cannot be a biological mother, a mother cannot be a biological father, and a child cannot be a child without a biological mother and father.

This is the natural order, not discrimination. Religion aside, because it takes a couple decades to raise children into adulthood, throughout the centuries marriage has been best understood as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Everyone can have a best friend.

Marriage is something more. I don’t think the state needs to give special recognition and help to those who declare publicly that they have a best friend other than what can be perhaps better stated in a living will or other legal documents.

It does make sense for the state to give special recognition and help to married couples who raise families because of the common good of having a next generation and the considerable sacrifices involved with this vocation.

It is in the state’s best interest to support traditional marriage because kids are better off growing up in households with the rich guidance and perspective of both a mother and a father. I believe the state would be better off spending more time on helping single parents and supporting adoption services for married couples who cannot have children.

— Frank Schuster, pastor, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Woodinville

Marriage equality is about families

By the time our 1-year-old daughter is old enough to talk about marriage equality, I sincerely hope my husband and I will be able to tell her that our family’s second-class citizenship is a relic of a bygone era. The psychological harm caused by second-class status is not readily understood by people who have not walked in our shoes, which allows them to trivialize it.

All we are asking from the state is civil equality for our family, nothing more or less. Those who oppose our civil equality have passionate opinions, but otherwise they have no personal stake in the passage or failure of marriage-equality legislation. My marriage, regardless of its civil status, has absolutely no bearing on anyone else’s marriage, family security, or livelihood.

So let this be clear: Marriage equality is about my family and thousands of families like mine. Why should my daughter suffer second-class citizenship just because some people are uncomfortable with her family structure?

— David Simonton, Seattle

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