Gay Rights Activists Introduce Initiative that Would Require Children in Marriages
KENNEWICK, Wash.- A new initiative is turning heads around the state as the gay-marriage debate heats up again.
Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has accepted Iinitiative 957, a response by gay rights activists to a State Supreme Court ruling last summer.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state could prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying because the state has a legitimate interest in preserving marriage for procreation.
The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance then filed the initiative.
I-957 has five clauses that would have to be met for a legal marriage.
It would allow only couples capable of having kids to marry, and that they file "proof of procreation" within three years of the marriage. If not, the marriage would be annulled.
Many people think the law is over the top.
Leaders at a Kennewick church with gay and lesbian members feel the same.
"There are many marriages that are not about having children. There are many couples who marry later in life, they marry for companionship, they marry because they want to create a family," said the Reverend Janet Pierce.
"They don't necessarily marry to have children," Pierce said.
I-957 would also force couples who married out of state to show the same proof of procreation or their marriage wouldn't be recognized, and it would become a criminal act for anyone in an unrecognized marriage to get marriage benefits.
To make it on the November ballot they need 224,800 signatures by July 6.