In the 18 years I lived and worked in the Walla Walla Valley, I delivered hundreds and hundreds of babies, beautiful babies that are now adolescents and young adults.
Some of those young people are undoubtedly discovering, perhaps to their dismay, that they are attracted to people of the same gender in a society that wants to throw gay and lesbian people into a lower caste, depriving them of rights that the rest of us enjoy (and take for granted).
I think about all of those babies and what we didn't know yet about who they would become, and want only the best for all of them, not just the ones who are heterosexual.
We all want our children to grow up having the best lives possible: Happiness, financial stability, a loving relationship and the gift of family. In our society, the ability to marry confers many of these benefits on a couple, including certain legal rights, financial safeguards and social standing.
To say that one kind of couple is allowed those benefits and another kind of couple doesn't deserve them, despite the fact that both couples are in loving, committed, monogamous relationships is blatantly discriminatory. To defend that discrimination with an option (domestic partnership) that clearly does not offer the same rights and benefits is disingenuous.
Washington's Referendum 74 will allow all couples who wish to make a commitment to love and fidelity to do so, granting them the rights and privileges of marriage that only some of us are currently allowed. This law doesn't take anything away from my marriage or those of others -- it simply allows more committed couples access to this most basic building block of social and family stability.
It allows everyone to be treated fairly under the law without impinging on anyone's freedom of religious expression -- you may disagree on religious grounds and refuse to marry same-gender couples in your faith community, but people of faith (like me) who oppose civil discrimination will become free to welcome same-gender couples into marriage and the ministry of our churches.
Please, find it in your hearts to support a fair society that chooses not to discriminate while protecting freedom of religious expression. Vote yes on R-74.