Monday, Feb 24, 2020
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Monday, Feb 24, 2020
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Representative Cody, Representative Nelson, and Senator McDermott,

Thank you so much for supporting the equal rights of same-sex couples by sponsoring and supporting these crucial bills.

My husband Chris and I are transplants to West Seattle (we live in Morgan Junction, having come all the way from Ballard last summer). As a newcomer to your district, this is my first time writing to each of you and I am very pleased that it's because all of our elected representatives support us so strongly.

Chris and I met here in Seattle in 1993 and we married in San Francisco in 2004. We were forcibly divorced by the California Supreme Court but we had the opportunity to legally marry again there last summer. You might have seen our picture in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in its article about the California marriages. (The photo was taken as we were picking up our tuxes at a formal wear and costume shop on Capitol Hill.)

We are not sure what will become of our legal marriage however. The California voters enacted a constitutional amendment that says marriages like ours are not valid or recognized. It's now up to the California court - again - to decide whether we can stay married, whether we have the same constitutional right to marry that our straight neighbors, family members, friends, co-workers, and fellow citizens all have and take for granted.

Many people mistakenly think that civil unions and domestic partnerships should be just fine for us, that they provide equality. But the California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut courts have all realized that that is not true.

As the California court noted, "affording same-sex couples access only to the separate institution of domestic partnership, and denying such couples access to the established institution of marriage, properly must be viewed as impinging upon the right of those couples to have their family relationship accorded respect and dignity equal to that accorded the family relationship of opposite-sex couples. First, because of the long and celebrated history of the term 'marriage' and the widespread understanding that this term describes a union unreservedly approved and favored by the community, there clearly is a considerable and undeniable symbolic importance to this designation. Thus, it is apparent that affording access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples, while providing same-sex couples access to only a novel alternative designation, realistically must be viewed as constituting significantly unequal treatment to same-sex couples." Separate but equal is not an American value, and separate and unequal certainly is not.

Many also mistakenly think that government should get out of the marriage business, that "marriage" should be left to religious institutions. Legal, civil marriage has always been a part of our culture and heritage and it has nothing to do with religious marriage. The government needs to know who to treat as legal next of kin for all kinds of reasons, and marriage is the word, the institution, and the legal status used to connote that. Hopefully we do not now need to overthrow marriage and try to replace it with an inferior substitute "domestic partnerships" simply to prevent Gay couples from getting legally married and sharing the institution with their straight counterparts.

Chris and I want to be married for the same reasons straight couples do: we love each other, we have promised to spend the rest of our lives caring for each other, and we want our society and our government to recognize the deep relationship we have. It is shameful and deeply sad to us that we could not marry in our home state of Washington. We would like nothing more, and we feel that we and other Gay Washingtonians deserve nothing less.

Ken Molsberry and Chris Vincent


As you know, Ron Sims has been tapped for Assistant Director of HUD by President Barack Obama. If confirmed, Sims would take up new federal responsibilities and leave open the office of King County Executive. This office is up for election in November 2009.

How do you replace a big, huggable teddy bear like Ron Sims? He has supported, fought for, and encouraged minorities in this city with unflagging zeal - Gays and Lesbians, immigrants, people of all colors, and the poor. In stark contrast to Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, Ron Sims took heat defending the folks in Tent City. He affirmed the dignity of the homeless and gave generously from his boundless compassion. While Sims did back the stadiums over the objections of the voters, he also backed sensible mass transit proposals and strict enforcement of land use laws to preserve our environment. Sims will be missed in King County.

Who should replace him? The county council has the legal authority to appoint a replacement. Some favor appointing a caretaker who would not run in November 2009. The idea is that the appointee could focus on the job without campaigning and it would give no candidate the incumbent advantage. Others favor appointing a strong, viable executive right now who can carry out serious initiatives right from the start. The idea is that the economic crisis we all face needs somebody to lead us through it over the long term and not just a placeholder.

Larry Phillips, King County Councilmember for district 4, has already launched his campaign for the executive position. District 4 includes Ballard, Magnolia, Queen Anne, Downtown, and Capitol Hill. He is supported by Larry Gossett, councilmember for district 2, which comprises the UW, Madison Valley, and Rainier Avenue. No one else is running yet but councilmembers Bob Ferguson from the Bothell-Lake City-Shoreline area and Dow Constantine from the West Seattle-Vashon area have expressed interest.

I support Larry Phillips and I think the council should appoint him without delay. We can confirm him with our votes in November. Larry has been a strong, active leader on the King County Council and he has demonstrated that he cares about all the people in the county - in and out of his own district. He will carry on the legacy of Ron Sim's care for the poor and homeless, the disenfranchised and minorities. He is also smart and articulate and he will, like Barack Obama, call us to our higher potential as we deal with the problems we face today. Unlike Sims, Larry Phillips says his focus is on King County and he is not seeking this office as a stepping stone for later positions.

Janice Van Cleve


Recently, through the largesse of George Bacon, I was able to see the latest production at the Fifth Avenue Theater, Memphis. I was hardly bubbling over with enthusiasm about it, not being a big fan of musical theater, but for the good of my relationship I was happy to go. Within a few minutes I knew I wasn't seeing any ordinary show. The music and choreography were top notch. The dramatic performances may need a little polish here and there, but were still very good. In a few cases the players still haven't quite made the characters their own and seem to be acting, but they're getting there. The production values are all high, from sets and costumes to stage management. The thing that overshadows everything is the story. It's been told a lot of different ways by now, but never better. Three-quarters of the way through the first act I was holding back tears, wishing I'd brought a handkerchief. There's plenty of comic relief, too, but anybody who lived through a very large part of the Civil Rights Movement [will be] shaken with the power of the story. Usually when a show ends I halfheartedly keep clapping as I rise to leave; that evening I arranged my things so I could stand as soon as the curtain calls began. Nobody can see it without an emotional reaction.


John Griffin

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