James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Washington State and gay marriage

Posted by James McPherson on June 7, 2012

I live in the most conservative part of a generally progressive state. Washington is the first state to ever have two female U.S. Senators and a woman governor at the same time. The state legislature recently approved gay marriage, which would have made Washington the seventh state to stop marriage discrimination.

That doesn’t mean that many people in the state don’t wish we were more like our neighbor to the east, the politically backward state of Idaho. That’s why the big news this week is that 200,000 people have signed petitions to put the issue to a vote in November. Perhaps we should vote on whether we should continue to allow interracial marriages, too. Sadly, the Washingtonians who signed are going in exactly the opposite direction as the rest of the nation (even if our president isn’t really gay).

Cherry-picked biblical quotes mean nothing in this argument. Even if the Bible argued more convincingly in opposition to homosexuality than, say, to making women married their rapists, religion isn’t supposed to dictate policy in America. Phony child-rearing arguments also are irrelevant — in fact, perhaps we should have more gay parents.

The solution is obvious — state-sanctioned marriages should take place in government buildings. Church ceremonies can be lovely, and would undoubtedly continue, but should have no legal standing whatsoever. And any two consenting adults should be able to legally enter into marriage.

Next-day update: Denmark just broadened its marriage equality law.

4 Responses to “Washington State and gay marriage”

  1. Reuel said

    I agree totally on this. I am not gay and conservative that supports this. Let get to the major issues that we all face today.

  2. James McPherson said

    Indeed. And especially with so many of those important issues, I don’t understand why people spend so much time and political effort to try to prevent others from having happy lives that don’t effect us heterosexuals in any way.

  3. Reuel said

    Well I guess it is settled then, 2 votes for, zero against.

  4. J. Cifuentes said

    I think it’s very hypocritical coming from a country that professes religious freedom to deny marriage to anyone based on religion. However, I don’t think a church should be forced to marry people if it doesn’t believe in gay marriage. In my opinion, if gay people want to get married in a church, they should do so in a church that supports it.

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