The coalition to Approve Referendum 71 is growing stronger. In addition to major contributions from large employers like Microsoft, Starbucks, Puget Sound Energy, Boeing, and Nike, numerous editorial boards are also endorsing Approve Referendum 71. As the Nov. 3election date nears, influential media like the Seattle Times, the Olympian, and the Oregonian editorial boards are casting their votes to keep the domestic partnership law. Here is what they have to say: The Union Bulletin Editorial Board calls domestic partnership protections “sound public policy” and the Federal Way Mirror “recommends approving Referendum 71” because “this legislation helps maximize personal freedom and independence for a small slice of the population.” The Oregonian Editorial Board states that the Approval of Referendum 71 “would be a big, and important, lurch forward” while students at Western Washington University are using their independent newspaper, The Western Front, to endorse Referendum 71: “Should the families of dedicated public servants be denied basic rights simply because their family breaks the traditional mold?” The Olympian makes sure to note in its endorsement that Referendum 71 is about protecting families, creating legal protections for domestic partners and “ensuring that the 12,000 registered domestic partners in committed relationships in Washington State enjoy the same rights, responsibilities and benefits as married couples.” The Seattle Times Editorial Board has been even more vocal about Referendum 71: penning multiple endorsement articles that urge the public to remember that these adjustments are vitally important, but “hardly radical” and that “nothing is taken away from one person, one couple or one family and given to another. This is about equal treatment for all Washington residents going about their private lives.” Despite strong support from Microsoft, Nike, and others, The Seattle Times Editorial Board warns that these endorsements are only part of the equation and that they are “no substitute for a strong turnout during an off-year election. An array of endorsements reinforces the importance of this thoughtful extension of the state's domestic-partnership law. Adoption of R-71 is still grounded in casting votes to approve its passage.” Above all, it states, “The law at the heart of R-71 is about fundamental fairness for Washington families. Of course it should be approved.” Endorsements have flooded in from the editorial boards of The Spokesman Review (“many people changed their minds because the basic unfairness violated their traditional values”), the Chinook Observer (“Discrimination based on who someone falls in love with just isn't right”), the Daily Herald (“these protections are necessary precisely because gays and lesbians cannot legally marry,”) and the Wenatchee World. Community groups, professional organizations, civic associations, and many of the region’s largest employers support the Referendum because it is about protecting committed couples, and they believe it's wrong to take away the protections the domestic partnership law provides these couples. Other endorsements have come from such groups as The Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Washington State Bar Association and the Washington Association of Churches. By endorsing Referendum 71, each of these groups displays a commitment to basic fairness for all Washington families.
Newspapers throughout Washington have endorsed Approve 71