Call it Prop 8:  now with more confusion!

Last month, Washington State approved marriage equality through its senate and assembly and was signed into law by Governor Gregoire.  However, no marriages will be allowed to take place until after the November election, as it awaits a Prop 8-y citizen’s votes.  Yes, I spelled that right (although the grammar was off):  gays will stare down the barrel of TWO Prop 8’s this year. 

Here’s how it breaks down:

Initiative 1192 (I-1192) will end gay marriages.  Vote NO!

Referendum 74 (R-74) will allow gay marriages.  Vote YES!

One vote must be Yes, and the other must be No in order to achieve our marriage rights.  One false move, we step on the white tile, and tile is lava, and we’re done for!

Well, this just keeps getting more and more demeaning, doesn’t it?  Our American justice system has been reduced to a bullyish game of backpack keep away.

Another wrinkle that hardly anyone thinks about is “Who sets the language of the vote?”

I remember voting against Prop 8 four years ago.  The language stated “this eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”  How you word something can be very powerful.  Even something worded that severely managed to pass.

So…who sets the wording for these two votes?  Why, it’s anti-gay Attorney General Rob McKenna!  Why, he’s running for Governor this November!  Why, he’s trying to solidify his Republican base!  Why, the surest way to solidify a Republican base is stir up dormant anti-gay animus!  Well, well, well.

From the language of Referendum 74:

“This bill would redefine marriage to allow same-sex couples to marry…”

Where have we heard that phrase before, “redefine marriage”?  Where have we heard that focus group-tested anti-gay brand slogan?  Could it be pulled from the language of the bill itself, as it is custom in matters like these to tread carefully and hew rigidly to the bill’s wording so as to minimize any unnecessary confusion?


Could it be from every piece of publicity the National Organization for Marriage has ever put forth?  NOM, that multimillion dollar a year industry of hate, who have their hands in the honey pot of every church, synagogue and mosque in America?  Well, not so much mosques.

Legal objections to the wordings have already been filed, and this will surely not stand until November.

I think he showed tremendous restraint in simply keeping it at “redefine marriage.”  He could have said “this bill redefines marriage and makes sure you don’t get a million dollars in the mail.” Technically true.

Or he could have said “this bill redefines marriage and will clog up your Facebook with boring, identical news links and endless exclamation points.” We’re still in the land of truthiness.

Or how about “this bill redefines marriage and your grandkids won’t call you now because they’ll be too busy texting about being gay together.”  We’re reaching the border of truth now, but still in the city limits.

Why not just let a robot do the wording?  Or those big giant supercomputers we saw in movies in the late 70’s?  Feed the bill in one end, a strip of paper with the proposition on it comes out the other:

“This bill has already passed. If you check ‘yes,’ the bill will be cancelled.  But it will get passed again, and you will have to come back and vote on it again in another four years.  If you vote it down then, it will get passed again and you will have to vote on it again.  If you vote ‘no,’ you’ll never have to hear about this again.”

Now THAT would get the job done.

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Written by Adam Sass

Adam Sass

ADAM SASS begins all his writing in Sharpie on dozens of Starbucks pastry bags. This may cause him to be late making your cappuccino, and he sincerely apologizes. His Writer’s Digest-honored story “98% Graves” appeared in the anthology STARTLING SCI-FI: NEW TALES OF THE BEYOND. He lives in New York City with his husband and two dachshunds.

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