Padden votes against Senate bill to redefine marriage, offers amendments to protect religious liberty

Mike PaddenThe Senate tonight, by a vote of 28 to 21, passed Senate Bill 6239, a measure that would redefine marriage in Washington to include relationships between same-sex couples. Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted against the bill, and offered this statement:

“Marriage has always been understood to be a comprehensive relationship between a man and woman, as husband and wife, grounded in their complementary nature and their ability to naturally conceive and give birth to children, and serve as father and mother.

“The state has always recognized the special nature of that relationship and its benefits for society as a whole, but the state did not create or define marriage. Marriage was created by society and the church prior to the creation of the state. In fact, the institution of marriage, as well as its definition and purposes, pre-dates all reliable recorded history. To change such a fundamental pillar of our society is not only foolish, but dangerous.

“I am also very troubled by the possibility that this bill will result in Washingtonians being forced to defend their religious liberties, potentially in court, at the cost of thousands of dollars. To address this concern, I introduced a common-sense amendment that would have protected public officials from having to solemnize marriages if doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. Unfortunately, this reasonable protection was rejected.

“This is not an improbable concern. Just weeks after a similar bill redefining marriage was passed in New York, a part-time county clerk lost her job because she felt that she could not sign a same-sex ‘marriage’ license. She found someone else on the premises who was willing to sign it for her, but that was not good enough. Not only did she lose her job as a court clerk, but upon hearing of her opposition to the legislation redefining marriage, activists began a protest of her rural farm.

“Unfortunately the majority party rejected other important attempts to protect the rights of Washingtonians, as well as an amendment to attach a referendum clause to the measure and put it before voters on the fall ballot. The people of the 4th Legislative District, and all of Washington, deserve the last word on a subject of this magnitude.”