Letters to the Editor

Support the right of all to marry whom they choose | Letter to the Editor

As a citizen of Washington, a person of faith and a member of the clergy, I support Referendum 74 and strongly encourage everyone who is registered to vote to approve it.

When the state Legislature passed the bill legalizing same-gender marriage, I was delighted. I attended my own sister’s wedding to her female life partner right here on Vashon over 10 years ago — a wedding of two dear souls who truly loved each other, committed to support each other and made sacred promises witnessed by their loved ones and by God. It was a beautiful, magical and true wedding in every way — except that it was not legally recognized. My sister and her beloved spouse did not have the same legal rights that my husband and I have — rights and privileges woven throughout the legal code, in almost innumerable ways.

Many opponents of Ref. 74 say they are motivated by their religious beliefs. So am I — my religious upbringing has taught me that love is greater than fear, and my Unitarian Universalist tradition teaches to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person. I believe that approving Ref. 74, which will uphold the marriage equality law and allow all committed couples to marry, does exactly that.

Some opponents worry that the new law might somehow force churches to perform weddings their traditions do not recognize. This is not true — the marriage equality law expressly protects freedom of religion and speech, and no person of the cloth will be forced to perform marriages against his or her own judgment.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Vashon Theatre, I will stand with members of the larger Island community, including many Island faith community leaders, at a candlelight vigil to champion, celebrate and preserve marriage equality.

And on Nov. 6, I will be standing on the side of love and supporting the freedom of all people to marry the person whom they love.


— Rev. Carmen McDowell


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