French marriage equality bill to be introduced this Halloween, marriage equality misdirection in Washington
October 11, 2012
By Jacob Combs
Yesterday, the French government announced that a draft bill legalizing marriage equality would be approved on October 31. In addition, Socialist Prime Minister Francois Hollande’s administration is proposing changes to the country’s legal language pertaining to marriage that would replace the words “mother” and “father” with “parents.” Not surprisingly, this move has lead to criticisms that France is planning to ‘redefine’ marriage, with particularly strong opposition coming from the country’s strong Catholic church. Here’s what the UK’s Telegraph paper wrote about the issue in an article published in late September:
The head of the French Catholic Church Cardinal Philippe Barbarin warned followers last week that gay marriage could lead to legalised incest and polygamy in society. He told the Christian’s RFC radio station: “Gay marriage would herald a complete breakdown in society. ”This could have innumerable consequences. Afterward they will want to create couples with three or four members. And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall.”
And Pope Benedict XVI invited 30 French bishops to Italy to urge them to fight against the new law. He told them: “We have there a true challenge to take on. ”The family that is the foundation of social life is threatened in many places, following a concept of human nature that has proven defective.”
The government has made it clear that the legislation will address marriage equality as well as adoption rights for gay and lesbian couples. Issues of access to in-vitro fertilization for lesbian couples and other such rights will be addressed in a secondary piece of legislation to be discussed sometime in the future.
Here in the U.S., meanwhile, ThinkProgress points to a post published on the site Pantheos.com, which describes itself as “hosting the conversation on faith,” written by Ericka M. Johnson, president of the Seattle Atheists. In her post, Johnson alleges that opponents of marriage equality in Washington have been calling supporters of equality and telling them (incorrectly) that they have to reject Referendum 74 in order to bring equal marriage rights to the state. From Johnson’s post:
[Referendum 74's opponents] are flat out lying to voters and saying they’re volunteering with “Citizens of Washington United for Marriage.” That organization does not exist. But it sounds a lot like Washington United for Marriage, the organization actually working to educate voters about the importance of approving Referendum 74.
How do I know this? On Sunday night, Seattle Atheists (my local group) hosted theFlying Spaghetti Monster Dinner for Marriage Equality. It was an amazing night with all donations going to Washington United for Marriage.
While we were setting up for the event, one of the early arrivals pulled me aside to let me know about a phone call he’d received. He was concerned that some of the WU4M volunteers had gotten their information very wrong because the person who called him was saying if you vote to approve Ref. 74 in Washington State, you’re voting against allowing same-sex marriage. The caller was extremely rude and woke him up with a Monday morning call… but Washington United for Marriage does not run phone banks in the mornings. It’s just about the worst time to call voters because everyone is getting ready for work and the day ahead. This was clearly a phone call from the opposition posing as supporters.
As always, it’s important for voters to know exactly how they should vote in the election to properly express their views–part of the confusion surrounding Prop 8 was no doubt due to the fact that a no vote in that election meant a yes vote for marriage equality. In Washington, the words to remember this November are ‘approve Referendum 74.’ The Four 2012 posted a great photo at the end of September explaining how marriage equality advocates should vote in November: in Maine, it’s ‘yes on 1,’ in Maryland, it’s ‘vote for Question 6′ and in Minnesota, it’s a simple no vote on the Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment.