On Tuesday (Sept. 29th), I saw my first “Reject 71” yard sign in Burien at First Ave South and SW 148th. In addition to the racial/cultural hate that runs just under the surface in most suburban communities, we have the religious/lifestyle haters coming out of the closet.
When I moved to this community in 1991, the big local news story was Nazi skinheads targeting Jews in the neighborhood I’d chosen. Oh, great — not only am I gay, but Jewish, too!
Burien incorporated in 1993 and we lost all the equal rights protections we’d had as part of unincorporated King County. When I was elected to the city council in 1997 (openly gay), I protested that I could be fired from a job in a town where I made the laws. I was not going to take that as fact.
So, I set a goal of equal rights and equality in my town. In 2001, Burien became the first suburban city to provide domestic partnership benefits to all partnered city employees (only str8s signed up). Then in 2004, Burien adopted a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance that is stronger than state law. No one can be discriminated against, for no reason — period.
After all that work to bring equal rights and fairness to my city, it angers me to see haters plant their flag in my town. Treat your neighbors like family, because they are — Approve R-71.
For those of you unfamiliar with this issue, here’s the language that will be used on the Nov. 3rd ballot:
The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.
This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.
Should this bill be:
[ ] Approved
[ ] Rejected
(Stephen Lamphear is a longtime Burien resident and former City Councilmember. Read more of his writing here.)
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