Washington State is a 100% mail-in ballot state. The ONLY way to vote is through the mail (which, I’ve learned, blows some of your minds). There are no long lines to stand in here. No need to take time off work to vote. No “I voted” stickers to cling to our shirts. It is far more convenient and costs the state less money. I, for one, love it – though I know some people miss the audible “ca-CHUNK” of ballot punching in a voting booth. There’s just one small problem…
Ballots must be post-marked by midnight on election day. And of course, plenty of people (myself included) wait until the very last second to get those bad boys in the mail. That means that close elections in this state often aren’t called for a week a more while we wait anxiously, perched on the edge of our seats, for the last of the ballots to trickle in.
We’re still waiting to learn who will govern our state; still waiting to hear if the charter school initiative will pass. But we are no longer waiting to learn if this state’s gay and lesbian couples will be allowed to marry. Because this afternoon, the opposition (FINALLY!) conceded defeat.
And now I cry. With relief. With joy. With pride. Well done, Washington. Way to fight the good fight.
“The same fight that led people to walk-outs and sit-ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference.
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom ’til we’re equal – damn right I support it.
No law’s gonna change us, we have to change us.
Whatever god you believe in, we come from the same one.
Strip away the fear,
Underneath it’s all the same love.
About time that we raised up!”
While I’m beyond thrilled, I need to state one thing for the record:
Under no circumstances, EVER, should the rights of a group of citizens be decided by popular vote. I am ashamed that I was given the right to decide other people’s rights. But it happened. And I am proud that we decided to stand on the side of equality, of acceptance, and of love.
At least 52% of us did.
If you’re part of the 48% that voted against this measure, I have a favor to ask. I’d like to request that you observe the effects of the law over the next, I don’t know, 6-12 months. I’d like to hear how your life and the lives of your immediate family members are affected. I’d like to hear about what you see taking place in your community as a result of the extension of marriage rights to all couples. And if it turns out that you are still free to practice your religion; if it turns out that the foundation of your own marriage is not weakened or, for that matter, affected at all; if it turns out that your children continue to thrive; if it turns out that the economy does not suffer and that companies continue to conduct their business without fines; if it turns out that no move is made to allow people to marry their pets; if it turns out that your life goes on in much the same way it did before and that your worst fears fail to materialize; then please do me this one, small favor:
Please take the time to reconsider your stance and, if you can find it in yourself to do so, be brave enough to change your mind.