In a surprising and controversial move, the Washington state legislature is considering an amendment to its constitution defining marriage as only existing between couples of the same sex. The amendment will be voted on in the November election and is currently polling at a tight 51%-49% in favor of the change.
The New Marriage Amendment (N.M.A.) was first introduced by a non-profit organization called the Preservation of Marriage Coalition whose mission is to “preserve the sanctity of marriage”. However, during the past few months they have decided to refocus their mission on a worthier group. According to the organization’s President Matilda Robinson,
“When Washington legalized gay marriage in December of 2012 we thought our world was over. Then, nothing happened. People were shocked that it had little to no impact on the every day lives of heterosexual couples. We thought there would be some reaction. You know, locusts, rain of toads, all of our Pabst Blue Ribbon turning into Pinot Noir, but no, absolutely nothing bad came out legalizing gay marriage. It really made us reflect. Maybe the best way to protect the sanctity of marriage is to stop straight people from marrying. Maybe we are the problem.”
If the N.M.A. passes, there will undoubtedly be far-reaching implications for heterosexual couples. There is already concern that they will no longer be eligible for the same government benefits. John Berkin from Tacoma asks, “What if my wife is in the hospital? If we are not legally married anymore can I be denied access to see her? That’s crazy. How could anybody possibly say that’s okay?!” Robinson counters saying that heterosexual couples will be offered most of the same rights as homosexual couples. “They won’t be married any more but they may be able to form a civil union. Though it’s meeting opposition, we believe we can pass a civil union bill within 3-5 years.”
There is also discussion on whether heterosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children. “We’ll need to study what possible harm there might be to the child” says Robinson, “It doesn’t seem that as a whole, heterosexual parents have done a very good job with children in the past so it may be prudent to limit their access.” As for straight couples having their own children, “well I don’t know who would want to have to explain to a child that their parents are both a male and a female. It would be a tough way to grow up.” Robinson suggests that in the best interest of the children, heterosexual couples should really consider giving their kids to nice gay couples.
Washington’s N.M.A. vote will certainly be the focus of Olympia’s political debates for the next six months. Already protests have been organized throughout the state. The opposition has been met by large groups of supporters with inflammatory signs such as “God hates straights” and “It’s Bert and Ernie not Bert and Ellie” A number of House bills have also been introduced limiting heterosexual rights should the amendment pass. As one observer noted, “We need to make sure that straights can never marry again. If we let them marry what’s next, we let giraffes marry unicycles. It’s a slippery slope.” Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain. The stigma associated with straight marriage isn’t going away anytime soon.
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Orbson Rice is the author of the book “Exposing My Orbs: The Rise of a Liberal Satirist” and the “Creator” of the blog “The Orbson Oracle” which is thoroughly offensive, often thoughtful and occasionally funny. Stroke your mouse and visit the Oracle to read more or befriend him on Facebook.
Unedited Photograph by ProComKelly