Is Timing Everything?

The Wrong Argument to Make Against Nixing Washington’s Domestic Partnerships


The reason the Obama administration is giving us for not repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? It’s also being used to argue why trying to repeal pro-gay policies isn’t worth it.

“There’s too much on his plate,” Obama supporters will tell you, excusing the president’s inaction on his campaign promise to repeal DADT. We’ve got the economy, wars, health care, and H1N1 to deal with.

“So-fucking-what?” has been our response. The highest office in the nation always has a lot to deal with, none of which should get in the way of civil rights.

Interesting, then, that the Seattle Times is using that same “government and voters are too busy” rationale to advocate against Referendum 71, a (destined to fail) effort from religious conservatives in Washington State to repeal domestic partnership laws.

Argues the newspaper: “[Referendum 71] is an unnecessary campaign at a lousy time. Don’t sign. Don’t put our state through another rendition of the culture wars. Washington voters have much to manage: Many residents are out of work; others worry they will lose their jobs. Thousands of people have difficulty making ends meet. No one needs a campaign to stomp on legislation that doesn’t hurt anyone. … It is never a good time to wage an unnecessary cultural war, but this is a spectacularly bad time to fire up this old flame. Citizens have more important things to worry about.”

We’re with ’em on that whole “culture wars” thing. But if we’re going to argue that Obama can never be too busy for civil rights, can we argue our opponents need to shut up for the same reason?

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  • dgz

    i don’t care what argument they make as long as it works. maybe that’s placing pragmatism over principles, but principles haven’t worked yet in referendum.

  • paulied

    We’re never too busy to give equal rights; we’re always too busy to take them away.

  • Alec

    I’d almost like this to make it to the ballot. If it failed (and there’s every indication it would), it might embolden legislators to simply put marriage equality on the table.

    That being said, it seems clear that there isn’t enough interest to sustain anti-domestic partnership legislation in the Pacific Northwest and California. A similar referendum failed to get off the ground in Oregon, and Proposition 8 was limited to marriage for similar reasons.

  • Bruno

    The two situations are entirely different. Obama is hemming and hawing on a campaign promise which Gibbs unequivocally said earlier this year would happen for sure. Obama is thus retarding the inevitable progress he promised.

    In Washington, the opposition to the DP enactment is creating an issue over SOMETHING THAT’S DOOMED TO FAIL. That’s the argument the Seattle Times is making anyway.

  • Stitch

    How many economically and politically troubled societies can you name that have made civil rights strides?

    Did eastern Europe make a whole lot of GLBT friendly progress in the 50s and 60s?

    How about Bosnia in the 90s?

    An often-overlooked fact of our own civil rights struggle in this country is that progress only ever occurred during periods of relative prosperity, wealthy, and international peace. I’m not claiming that there was absloute international peace in the 60s, because I’m not stupid. I’m claiming that conditions today are relatively less prime for civil rights progress.

    The fact of the matter is, the reason Obama is not catering to us is because we are not his only constituency. We are not his only consideration. But he is not the only problem. He is not single-handedly keeping us from having our every dream come true.

    The absolute blame he receives from the commenters on this blog is naive at best, unintelligent and hypocritical at worst.

  • Stitch

    Just a quick question:

    I understand that my rights are at stake, blah blah blah, but is anyone else SICK AND TIRED of the stupid back and forth on this site re: Obama not showing the gays enough love??

    I GET IT.

    Some of you think he’s the devil incarnate, turncoat Judas who sold us down the river once he took office.

    Some of you think that there are other forces at work, and that Obama at least doesn’t deserve 100% of the vitriol he’s being targeted with.

    Can we PLEASE move on?

    Hey Queerty! Write about something else! It’s all half naked men and Obama rants these days.

  • KyleR

    Considering Seattle has recently passed San Fran as the gayest friendly city in the country, I kinda doubt that hate wud pass in the state anyways. But then again, their are a lot of Mormons in the state with all the tree huggers.

  • phillip Hjembo

    I think that some peoples arguments might really be about the government allowing this new issue of releaing the petition names to become public record.If this were to happen,wouldn’t this be going against all the privacy laws in place?I thought there were privacy laws for a reason,and this issue should be place under the same catagory.I think it would be like making it public knowledge then,the fact of who and what everyone in the world,votes for at every election!Making there ballots available to the entire public.I don’t think people would appreciate someone trying to make these available for public record,so then we should be putting this issue in the same catagory,it goes against every persons right to privacy.Plane and simple folks.thank you for this opportunity to comment.

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