Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Today in Stranger Suggests | Taking Anderson Literarily »

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Taking Andersen Literally

posted by on February 4 at 11:10 AM

The secretary of state has approved a proposed ballot measure that would require married couples to have children within 3 years of marriage.

In response to last year’s state Supreme Court ruling, Andersen v. King County, which upheld the state’s Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that the state leigislature had the right to see marriage as nothing more than a tool for procreation, I-957 was filed by the reclaim-your-oppression-named Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. The initiative needs 224,800 signatures by July to make the November ballot.

According to WA-DOMA: “This initiative is the first of three that WA-DOMA has planned for upcoming years. The other two would prohibit divorce or separation when a married couple has children together, and make having a child together the equivalent of marriage.”

p.s. to Don McDonough, looks like someone beat you to it, my angry gay brother.

RSS icon Comments


This is the craziest damn thing I've seen all week.

Posted by Patrick | February 4, 2007 11:29 AM

I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell: "I'm as mad as Hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Howard Beale

this ballot measure is a travesty.

Posted by truthseeker | February 4, 2007 11:32 AM

This ballot measure is hilarious. Why even waste your time, WA-DOMA?

Posted by aep | February 4, 2007 11:39 AM

You guys need to click the link or read it a little more carefully. This ballot measure is not a travesty. WA-Doma is a group fighting for marriage equality and this proposal seeks to expose the idiotic logic behind Anderson. They know it won't pass, but how can any true marriage defending conservative not support this bill? And if hell freezes over and it does pass, the supreme court will have to strike it down as unconstitutional thus weakening their own argument.
To Josh: you might have wanted to write this a little more clearly. I thought that WA-DOMA was a conservative group too until I clicked the link.

Posted by petard | February 4, 2007 11:48 AM

No, truthseeker, the travesty is the WA Supreme Court's ruling in Andersen.

While this measure, which I sincerely hope gets ON the ballot, has no chance of passing, it serves to call the bluff of those who argued against Andersen on the grounds of 'family' and procreation. They talked the talk, and for some ungodly reason convinced 4 of the 7 justices, so now let's see how they feel about walking the walk. I mean, seriously, if you want to "protect marriage", then outlaw divorce.

The good people of Washington need to understand that there are consequences to discrimination. And if it means hitting them over the head with a stick to get their attention, then so be it.

10-to-1 Hutcherson and his ilk are the first in line to try to kill this thing.

Posted by scott | February 4, 2007 11:49 AM
Posted by John | February 4, 2007 11:54 AM

Hloy crap, this is AWESOME! Next we need a ballot measure requiring all state tax revenues to be spent in the counties (or municipalities) where they were generated.

And then, an initiative outlawing the initiative process. The pitch on the street writes itself: "The last initiative you'll ever sign!"

Posted by JAK | February 4, 2007 12:00 PM

Initiative 957 is political street theater. We are taking the conservatives' own rhetoric, which became the basis of last year's state Supreme Court ruling, and beating them over the head with it.

Our choice of name came from one of our early ideas, to play ourselves up as wide-eyed conservatives trying to prevent screams of "Activist court!" Try to imagine Stephen Colbert sponsoring this. That idea fell by the wayside early but not until after we had filed papers with the state. Now, the official story is that we are "reclaiming" the initials and defending the cause of equal marriage.

If we can get I-957 on the ballot, we will have won. The bigoted meme of "marriage exists for the sole purpose of procreation" will be the subject of discussion around the country. For the first time, conservative objections to equal marriage will be under the national microscope. This can only help further the cause of equality, as discrimination and injustice fear few things more than the spotlight.

It would be great if I-957 passes. The Supreme Court would no doubt strike it down, which would critically weaken, if not kill, the earlier Andersen ruling which prompted this initiative.

Most likely it will fail, and (hopefully) by the biggest margin in state history. At that point, I-957 is a referendum on Andersen, and any position rejected by 80% of the voters (90%? 100%) would have to be carefully considered by both the courts and the state Legislature.

But before the initiative can either pass or fail, it needs to get on the ballot. And we need the signatures of a lot of Washington voters to do that.

Posted by Gregory Gadow | February 4, 2007 12:19 PM

The discussion about this between two married and childless women:
D says:
i cant decide if this is genius or insanity
J says:
me neither
J says:
i mean, what if enough jackholes actually vote it onto the ballot and into law?
J says:
It'll never stand, but I'll feel like such an outlaw!
J says:
wait.... that's hot
D says:
and it could happen as fucked up as everything is
D says:
living in sin...again
J says:
We could have outlaw groups.
J says:
Childless married couples rampaging through malls yelling at the people with kids "shut that kid up! Wipe their face! Teach them some damn manners!"
J says:
It'd be very old west
D says:
can we wear bandanas too!
J says:
Oh yeah, and throw leaflets detailing our lazy childess weekends when we sleep in, have sex, and drink before noon
J says:
And how we spend the money we save by not having kids on fun things like liquor and fast cars
J says:
We could start torching minivans and yelling viva la revolucion!

Posted by Jessica | February 4, 2007 12:24 PM

I'm signing it! If the religious right wants to keep claiming that the purpose of marriage is procreation then let's let them see what that looks like.

Posted by Mrobvious | February 4, 2007 12:24 PM

Gregory @8-

The difficulty with pulling this off is that, in order for it to really work, you're going to have to stay in charge of the rhetoric. If you can't, then the pundits are going to have a field day, nobody will understand the point this is trying to make, and everyone in Washington will just feel jerked around.

Do you think you can keep control of the rhetoric?

Posted by John | February 4, 2007 12:33 PM

I doubt this actually has much chance of gathering the requisite number of signatures to get on the ballot. The Religious Right, while clearly bat-shit crazy, aren't necessarily stupid enough (or most of them aren't at any rate) to play into what seems to be a rather obvious, ham-fisted (not that these are bad qualities) ploy by their opponents.

Hutch & his ilk will simply call this what it is: an attempt by equal marriage proponents to back religious conservatives into a corner by way of using their own (prejudiced) beliefs against them. But, just as the Dems in the U.S. Senate didn't fall for a similar tactic foisted by the GOP over support for the Iraq war, I predict this will go no further than the signature-gathering stage.

That being said, getting the debate itself out there is probably worth the effort.

Posted by COMTE | February 4, 2007 12:35 PM

John... I know that there will be a lot of educating that needs to get done. I've already had some... let me say *interesting* encounters while working on our website with my laptop in various Capitol Hill eateries. But really, what can be done at this point other than to call out the bigots with ham fisted tactics? There is no more legal recourse, the equal marriage bill in the Legislature has a snowball's chance and it would be stupid in the extreme to try and create equal marriage by initiative right now in this state. What are our options?

I've been involved in a lot of political actions, and over 20+ years I've seen one constant: the effectiveness of satire. A few anti-war songs by the Raging Grannies, a New Orleans style funeral for civil rights led by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in full regalia, a two minute clip on The Daily Show... these are the things that people remember and think about latter. They have more power to change the world than all the speeches, all the lawsuits and all the acts of civil disobedience combined. I-957 is definitely satire; I believe that we can pull it off and make sure it is effective satire.

It will be a challenge to get the needed signatures, no question about that. But I think we can do it. If we can get I-957 on the ballot, we will have won, no matter the outcome of the election. In fact, I will go so far as to encourage people to vote no in it, PROVIDED they sign the thing and let it come to a vote in the first place.

Posted by Gregory Gadow | February 4, 2007 12:55 PM

I had meant to put in my above post:

The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance website is at We should have the petitions available by Thursday morning.

Posted by Gregory Gadow | February 4, 2007 12:58 PM

I used the word travesty because the government should mind their own fucking business about the private lives of it's citizens.

I'm ashamed that we have people in our state that think like this.

The ballot measure is unconstitutional and will not pass.

As a taxpayer, I'm offended that I might have to pay even one cent toward this waste of time and energy just trying to get someone's attention.

Posted by truthseeker | February 4, 2007 1:21 PM

Truthseeker, of course this ballot measure is unconstitutional. That is part of the point. If by some miracle it were to actually pass, then it would end up before the State Supreme Court, who would, rightfully, strike it down. And in doing so, they would undercut their own ruling against gay marriage.

If this were to get enough signatures to actually get on the ballot, it will be a win for the gay community, regardless of whether it passes or not. If it passed, the court would end up striking it down and contradicting their reasoning in the Andersen case. If it fails (much more likely), then the right wingers can no longer claim that the whole reason for marriage is procreation.

It is a win-win no matter what for the gay community if we can actually get enough signatures. So, no, it isn't a travesty. It's brilliant.

Posted by SDA in SEA | February 4, 2007 2:50 PM


Hutcherson is a fool and comes up with this stuff hoping to increase donations so he can stuff his pockets with more of the his follower's money(a la Tim Eyman).

If hindsight were 20/20, using the word travesty to describe this measure was not appropriate after reading your posts so I'm putting my tail between my legs and am bowing out of the conversation gracefully.

Au revoir.

Posted by truthseeker | February 4, 2007 3:08 PM

@16: SDA, The right wingers will still claim it's "in the best interest of the child..." The thing about Hutcherson is there isn't a TV camera he does love to get in front of. He and the rest of them don't care how hypocritical they are. They are firm believers that there is no such thing as bad press.

The risk to the gay community is that this looks like sour grapes. Which of course it is. There's nothing wrong with that as this is a political fight, but John @ 11 is largely correct. Those running this thing will have to think through their steps along the way.

Posted by Dave Coffman | February 4, 2007 3:11 PM

fricken Big Govt Red Commie Bushies!

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 4, 2007 3:14 PM

Thank you, Gregory. This is an example of creative activism at its cleverest -- and a great use of the usually annoying initiative process. I agree with others here that there could be some difficulty staying in control of the message, but I say go for it.

Posted by Appreciative | February 4, 2007 3:46 PM

This is brilliant on so many, many levels.

Brilliant theatre. Canny politics. And a sagacious lesson for all.

Our state needs this journey - the political currency has been cheapened to such extent of late. We allow paid chum to solicit signatures with sloppy concern for the truth; we permit deep pockets to pay for special elections for building ephemera; in the most private of concerns - adult relationships - we have a high court that cannot see beyond a single holy book to grant equality in opportunity to all.

Gather the signatures; place this on the ballot; let the national conversation begin.

Posted by Laurence Ballard | February 4, 2007 5:12 PM

The initiative process is close to sacred in Washington. Duh.

People will recoil in horror when asked to sign.

You need to take your satire to the stage, use speeches and street puppets.

It is also negative by nature. The only way to get gay marriage is an excellent long term public education process and then real, as in legislative action, positive change.

I have supported all aspects of the fight for gay marriage. This is making light of the peoples political tool - sort of Tim Eyman who is a queer with un vented anger.

Your site says you need 300,000. What for? Not to pay for signatures I hope.

Fun, maybe funny, sort of satire, but bad politics. And I think a light weight waste of time.

Some might say it is truly anti family. The court was wrong but making babies is really OK, and procreation is not a dirty word or a soiled activity.

As you all know out there, gay men in love have all sorts of fantasies about getting pregnant by and with each other.

Give it up. Take it to the theater and essay.

Posted by selma | February 4, 2007 8:45 PM

I think its great. I'll send them some $.

That procreation reasoning was so shallow and I suspect frankly dishonest on the part of at least one judge.

Posted by mirror | February 4, 2007 9:15 PM

I'd love it if this got on the ballot. And btw, this might not be unconstitutional. The Anderson ruling now provides precedent for upholding it.

Posted by Gitai | February 4, 2007 9:18 PM


The initiative process was sacred in Washington until the Supreme Court eliminated our ban on the payment of petition circulators - passed in 1914 - with the 1988 ruling Meyer v. Grant, which struck down a similar ban against paid petition circulators in Colorado.

The Court's ruling in Meyer turned our revered initiative process into a profanity. Once upon a time in Washington when you signed a petition you knew a well-meaning, driven, committed volunteer was seeking your support. Today, paid signature gatherers may - and do - literally commit fraud.

I-957 is necessary chemotherapy for the large and ugly tumor of Andersen v. King County. Nobody says it will be pretty or nice.


Posted by Laurence Ballard | February 4, 2007 10:25 PM

This idea is like off the mark and will never make it to the ballot, but gets its Poppa a moment of fame.

Better plan, get rid of two conservative from the Supreme Court. Can do, long term solution, true and tried.

Suzanne Owens openly credits the gay community for its help in keeping her seat. A half dozen homophobes went to defeat with some solid actions of Equality Washington PAC in their districts,
so it seems we are getting good at large scale candidate campaigns.

Enter the real world.

Posted by steve | February 5, 2007 1:28 AM

Thank you WA-DOMA for joining in and fighting the conservative forces on their own ground. Makes me want to live in Washington, even tho you put the ocean on the wrong side. This just has to make it to the ballot.

I'm surprised Dan Savage hasn't weighed in on this in regard to the battle against the American Taliban.

Posted by BostonBear | February 5, 2007 6:19 AM

With regards to public money being used:

In Washington, sponsors bear nearly the entire cost of running an initiative campaign. There are only three times when public money is used: To prepare the measure for signature gathering, to validate signatures, and costs related to the election itself.

The cost of preparing the measure is pretty small and consists mostly of putting the sponsors' text into proper statutory form. No other state money is spent until the sponsors turn in the required minimum number of signatures; at that point, it is safe to assume that there is sufficient public interest in the measure to merit the cost of validating the signatures and then adding the initiative to voter information pamphlets and the ballot.

All other costs, such as voter education, printing ballots and collecting signatures, are born by initiative supporters. That is why we are working to get the money. $300,000 is nowhere near enough to hire signature gatherers, but it will allow us to take out advertisments in newspapers, print information cards and petitions, and pay for other costs related to getting I-957 on the ballot.

Posted by Gregory Gadow | February 5, 2007 7:38 AM

what it costs in cash to the advocates is of no import - it is a bad idea - let it go

if Rev. Ken does his work well, queers state wide will be in the fight of their lives to keep the civil rights bill passed last year - 30 years of positive work on the line - real time stuff

hardball elections affect all of us - spoofs and satire are a lot less importance by comparison - although we all get your point and share the collective anger about the fucked marriage decision

after all is said and done - keeping the Cal Anderson bill is critical, and that is the possible fight we need to focus on .... and the defense if we get dragged to the ballot will not cost 300,000 - but 2-3 million

Posted by denny | February 5, 2007 9:00 AM

it needs to be more detailed, very thorough, in order to be truly brilliant. there needs to be a whole section on adoption, and child-death contingencies spelled out in excruciating detail, and time extensions for unforeseen infertility problems complete with proofs of treatments, signed by clinics, etc. c'mon, it could be so much better. is there still time to rewrite it?

Posted by ellarosa | February 5, 2007 1:19 PM

This is REDICULOUS!!!! "A" Its Adam & Eve - NOT "Adam & Steve!" "B" Marriage is a UNION between a MAN & A WOMAN - period! Just because you don't "get your way in life" doesn't mean you start picking apart the marriage union which has always and forever existed as a union between (again I say) a Man and a Woman! I have no issues with people who are gay and lead a different lifestyle than I do - its not for me to judge you or how you live your life however that being said it does not necessarily entitle you to the same privileges married folks have. You made your choice to live your life your way - so quit trying to upset ours. These lawsuits and cry baby tactics get really annoying and bring my tolerance down for gays because of the whining. Suck it up! Decide if you're gay or not - and then live the life you choose meaning there are some things you loose with that decision. You don't get to raise children in same sex don't get to be married - to bad. If that was the life you wanted - then you should choose differently. The constant attack on marriage needs to STOP! We give you an inch - you take a mile! Why do you think there's less tolerance now than before - because of these ridiculous changes to the constitution and laws you constantly attempt to make! I PRAY marriage remains between a man and a woman! I PRAY child rearing remains between a man and a woman! Our society is loosing its integrity and our children suffer because of it. We want everything now - our way - without thinking of the consequences. QUIT WHINING!!!! Suck it up and deal with it - Same Sex's CANNOT LEGALLY MARRY! NOR SHOULD THEY BE ALLOWED TO!!!!! In life we donít always get what we want and should be grateful for what we have. If youíve found love Ė be happy with that! LEAVE us married folks alone! Quit trying to change the laws because they donít work for you!

Posted by Ryan | February 6, 2007 12:44 PM

Ryan -

Put the jesus pipe down and return to reality. We all love you here and wish you'd stay rational more often.

For the children, okay?

Posted by Roschin | February 6, 2007 1:37 PM

Rational? Let me just tell you if anyone's "not" rational itís all of you trying to change the marriage laws to suit your needs. Marriage is for a Man & a Woman - period. If you want to live as you do - I have no problem with that its not for me to judge your lifestyle - but you don't get the same privileges for living that way. It is what it is - suck it up and deal with it and quit whining about what you "don't have" and be thankful for what you do have. I'd be surprised to see that law change in this century. I would NOT recognize marriage between same sex couples ever and itís not a "Jesus pipe" - itís NOT how marriage was defined! There are more that DON'T support this crazy talk of yours than those that do! Its time the majority started to stand up and speak and say "enough - no more"

Posted by Ryan | February 7, 2007 9:37 AM

ryan, if people (especially men) "chose" to be homosexual, you might have at least one leg to stand upon, but the latest and most prestigious science and psychology have proven you wrong on this point. and in what way, exactly does gay marriage threaten yours or anyone else's marraige? hotheads like you never can seem to spell this one out, i've noticed. conclusion: you and your ilk are uninformed and irrational. suck that up, twit.

Posted by ellarosa | February 7, 2007 4:51 PM

mljtswa zwon olyesunvg dgnebp bcqwpn guxvelrc jxrsnydm

Posted by zdjlhfsng lxqtw | February 11, 2007 12:15 AM

mljtswa zwon olyesunvg dgnebp bcqwpn guxvelrc jxrsnydm

Posted by zdjlhfsng lxqtw | February 11, 2007 12:15 AM

FYI - Again I repeat Adam AND Eve - NOT Adam and Steve - hence Marriage between a MAN & WOMAN! If you don't like it tough! YOU suck it up. You don't like the rules of society quit your complaining and learn to deal with it....I'm not a hothead I'm a rational person with rational ideas and moreso THANK GOD the norm for society! God Bless you :)

Posted by Ryan | February 12, 2007 2:48 PM

PS - EllaRosa....the beautiful thing about the world we live in we are ALL entitled to our own opinions - neither right nor wrong - sooo I personally don't believe in same sex marriage - obviously you do - you're never going to change my mind its morally wrong and I probably will never be able to change your mind either. But hey that's the beauty in freedom of speech and freedom of thought!

Posted by Ryan | February 12, 2007 3:57 PM

What I fail to understand is how people can be against EQUAL RIGHTS. This debate is not about the term "marriage" or the church's sanction of of a relationship (at least the debate should not be about that). The debate should be about why is it that there is a group of people that cannot make medical decisions for their loved ones in the case of a medical emergency (or even see their loved ones in some cases)? Why is it that a group of people cannot receive their loved ones benefits should something tragic happen? Why can't a certain group of people make burial decisions about their loved ones? All of this because the state says my love for my partner is different (and subsequently less important) than the "love" my father has for my mother - even though they seem to fight more and more every day.

Of course there are other "benefits" to equality like filing joint taxes, divorce benefits, "spousal privilege", etc, but the debate is not about religious equality (yes, Ryan, the bible does say Adam and Eve). BUT the Adam/Eve argument proves that people are going against the First Amendment and asking our government to allow church doctrine to dictate US law. This argument is about the STATE (not church) granting equal rights to loving people that want to be together, but are legally not allowed to because it goes against church doctrine.

Posted by jim | February 13, 2007 9:44 PM

Those of you who do not agree with this idea are more likely the ones who are out there creating these havoc and depressing situations possible to people. I believe that this is the best organizational effort by the Government to stop some of this unneccessary reproduction and abandonment issues that we witness/deal with daily in America. More persons men/female would mostlikely think twice about what they are getting themselves into. ThIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN... FOR THE GOODNESS OF MANKIND.

Posted by Bostyon Johnson, President | February 21, 2007 2:00 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).