Marriage equality is not a referendum issue

By Matthew Shrader

The Washington state Constitution has a power in it that provides protection to its citizens; this power is called a referendum. Referendums allow the voters of Washington to decide on any law or bill passed by the legislature.

The power of referendum gives citizens a direct voice, instead of depending upon their elected officials to speak for them. Clearly this can be a good thing, but the other side of the coin is the possibility for the majority to tyrannize the minority.

For more than 200 years our society has strongly believed that all people are equal, and have the right to pursue what makes them happy.
Whether I chose to love men, or was created this way is not the issue in this debate; rather it needs to be decided whether or not I have the right to pursue happiness.

I love men, and when I find the man of my dreams, I deserve the same freedom to pursue happiness with this man as any straight individual has the right to pursue happiness with the love of their life.

Nobody in their right mind would question the fact that homosexuals are the minority. Straight people are the majority and have no right to say that all people are equal and then deny a minority a right that they grant themselves.

This is not a religious issue in any way at all! There are protections in place to prevent clergy and houses of worship from being forced to participate in a same-sex marriage. Furthermore, it needs to be said that Washington state law is not based on religious beliefs, but rather our constitution and belief in justice and equality.

In section I of the Washington state Constitution it is stated that governments are in place to protect the rights of the people. This is why we elect and send people to represent us in the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is about time that we allow our system of government to work and protect the people from the tyranny of the majority.

Allowing the majority to decide on a minority’s rights is simply ludicrous. This does not allow protection or justice, and certainly does not allow the pursuit of happiness. Marriage equality is not a referendum issue because it is the place of the government to protect the rights of minorities, not the right of the majority to tyrannize minorities.