Vote to approve marriage, marijuana

October 17, 2012

By Staff

Referendum 74

Referendum 74 offers Washington voters a chance to expand civil rights to same-sex couples.

In February, after receiving crucial support from the state House of Representatives and state Senate, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed landmark legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. Opponents petitioned to put the measure before voters on the November ballot.

Washington already affords rights to same-sex couples, but the existing law is incomplete. Marriage is a basic civil right, and that word is missing in our current  “everything-but-marriage” law. R-74 offers voters the chance to take the next step, and extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The measure, simply put, is about equality. Opponents claim same-sex marriage is certain to damage the sanctity of marriage. If R-74 critics want to preserve marriage, perhaps they should target divorce laws rather than a measure to expand the right to marry.

Voters should affirm equality for same-sex couples and approve R-74.

Initiative 502

Despite decades of enforcement and untold millions of dollars, marijuana prohibition does not work.

Initiative 502 could allow Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use among adults 21 and older, and outlines a plan for the state to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

I-502 is not a perfect plan, but the potential benefits outweigh the potential pitfalls. I-502 earmarks the funds for health insurance, state and local governments, and, most importantly, drug research, prevention and treatment.

Critics claim the initiative could make marijuana more accessible to teenagers. In reality, marijuana, like alcohol, is widely available to minors. The onus is on parents to teach teenagers to make responsible choices.

Legalization could carry another benefit—an estimated $1.9 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales.

Passage could also squeeze Congress to consider overhauling antiquated marijuana laws at the federal level.

I-502 is backed by law enforcement and legal professionals. The fragmented opposition to the initiative seems more concerned about maintaining the status quo than engaging in a debate about real reform.

The choice for Washington voters is clear. Vote yes on I-502.

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