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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 25, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 21
Teachers give gold star to Approve Ref. 74
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Teachers give gold star to Approve Ref. 74

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The state's two main teachers' unions - the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Washington and the Washington Education Association (WEA) - have both recommended that their members vote to Approve Referendum 74, which would affirm the state's new marriage equality law.

AFT Washington represents some 5,500 community and technical college faculty and classified employees at K-12 public schools.

The WEA represents more than 80,000 K-12 teachers, higher education faculty and staff, and support professionals.

At their May 4-5 convention, AFT Washington passed a resolution saying that the union 'supports the full inclusion of all families including Lesbian and Gay couples and their families in the life of our state with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under the law,' and therefore 'endorses and will participate in the Washington United for Marriage campaign.'

'Because of AFT Washington's deep commitment to human, civil, and women's rights,' the resolution continues, the union 'urges all voters to Approve Referendum 74 if it appears on the ballot this year in order to retain the Civil Marriage Equality Law.'

The national AFT represents about 1.5 million members and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Its president, Randi Weingarten, is an out Lesbian.

At the WEA convention May 19-20, that union's board of directors also recommended a yes vote on R-74.

'WEA's position on R-74 is consistent with the association's support for equal civil rights and opposition to discrimination,' officials said.

'At least two continuing resolutions approved by the WEA Representative Assembly oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation.'

The WEA is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), a voluntary association that functions like a labor union in most states. With 3.2 million members, the NEA is the largest union in the United States, but is not affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Both the AFT and the NEA have made substantial contributions to progressive causes and Democratic political candidates in the past.

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