Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Referendum 74 — Election Day Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage

By Jean Mavrelis - 11.09.2012

The following blog is written by our friend Michael.


As you may know, today the people in the State of Washington are voting on Referendum 74 which will allow same-sex marriages.

I really didn’t think much about the vote but today the whole idea of the referendum is really starting to weigh heavily on me.  I feel very uneasy and it’s hard to concentrate on my daily activities.

The reason why I feel like I am carrying a large sack of rocks on my shoulders today is because my life is hanging in a balance.  Besides myself, there are a great number of people who get to choose which way the scales will tip in regards to the issue of same-sex marriage including my neighbors, friends, coworkers, strangers on the street and people I will never know.

The vote isn’t about allowing same gendered people to marry, but instead it is questioning the validity and authenticity of same-sex relationships.  It is asking people to decide if the validity and authenticity of same-sex marriages are equal in all ways to heterosexual marriages to the point that same-sex couples should enjoy the same benefits equal and afforded to married heterosexual couples.

I don’t like the fact that I know people are voting on the validity of my relationship with my partner.  It is as if my commitment to him is in question and somehow no matter how much I love him or am committed to his well-being, I have to go the extra mile to prove it to others.

When I see a married heterosexual couple I don’t question their commitment to one another.  The fact that they are married declares that they profess a level of commitment to each other that is exclusive and accepted by those around them without question.

I happen to not only be gay, but I am also an ethnic minority.  For the most part I can go about my business and daily activities without either identity being of concern to me.

Today was a very sobering reminder that my difference does matter.  Seeing the validity of my relationship with my partner up for vote by complete strangers makes me feel like a second class citizen in a country that prides itself in its commitment to liberty and justice for all.


Today the final vote was announced that Referendum 74 had passed and those opposing it conceded defeat.  When I found out today, I got up from my desk at work and went to a conference room so I could shut the door and cry for a second.  As happy as I was that the referendum passed, there was a lot of pain that people in same-sex relationships like me had to go through to see our relationships finally recognized.  In the end, I am glad to see that the commitment that people have to each other is what matters in marriage and not the gender of who any of us choose to love.

2 Responses so far

I think that the government shouldn’t be able to control who we date, who we marry or we fall in love with. It is none of their concerns, its our private lives. It is wrong to judge a person for discrimination for a job with the sex, race, culture, religion and so forth so why does it matter so much we love and want to marry?

I don’t even understand why anyone cares about gays and lesbians wanting to get married. What difference does it make? It is clear that homosexuality is not something that a doctor or a church is going to get rid of and it is more openly discussed and visible now than ever. I am proud our president is man enough to stand up for gay rights by having the common decency to recognize we are all human and we all have our differences. I don’t see why everyone else cannot do the same. Who is to be hurt by allowing same sex marriage? No one. Who is to be hurt by discriminating against it? Millions. Ethics people! Why can’t everyone just do the right thing by treating everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve? By letting everyone be who they are with no judgment.

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