Candidates for governor divided on gay marriage
Seattle Times staff reporter
With gay marriages arriving in the Northwest, Gov. Gary Locke said yesterday he does not support same-sex marriages but would not comment on how he'd respond if Washington cities or counties started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
At a news conference, Locke said state law and multiple court decisions have "made it very clear that marriage in the state of Washington is between a man and a woman." The governor said he supports civil unions giving gay and lesbian couples "virtually the same rights" as married couples.
Locke's potential successors were divided on the topic — and on whether they'd intervene as governor if cities or counties tried to force the gay-marriage issue. They also were split on whether they'd support a federal constitutional amendment, endorsed by President Bush, to ban gay marriage.
Here's what the leading gubernatorial candidates had to say:
Democrat, attorney general
Gay marriage: Opposes. "I do not believe that Washington state is ready to support gay marriage." Gregoire does support some legal rights for committed same-sex couples.
Constitutional amendment: Opposes.
Enforcement: Gregoire's campaign did not answer questions about what she would do as governor. Jim Pharris, senior assistant attorney general, said the Attorney General's Office has not spent a lot of time analyzing the issue because the state law "seems very clear" as to the illegality of gay marriage, and he doesn't anticipate anyone challenging it.
Republican, former state senator
Gay marriage: Opposes. "I believe in the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman."
Constitutional amendment: Favors. "We can't go to a patchwork system of 50 different definitions of marriage."
Enforcement: As governor, Rossi would intervene if cities started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "As governor, he would have no choice but to enforce the law on the books," campaign spokesman Afton Swift said.
Democrat, King County executive
Gay marriage: Favors. "I personally support the right for loving couples to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation."
Constitutional amendment: Opposes. "Constitutional amendments should be used only to address the most significant issues confronting the nation."
Enforcement: As King County executive, Sims has refused to issue same-sex-marriage licenses, citing the state law banning same-sex marriage. If elected governor, he vows to "sign into law legislation ensuring an individual's civil rights, including same-sex marriage." His campaign declined to say whether he would intervene as governor if, in the absence of such legislation, cities tried to perform same-sex marriages.
Democrat, former state Supreme Court justice
Gay marriage: Favors.
Constitutional amendment: Opposes. "It's a tremendously cynical kind of effort by the Bush administration to divert everybody's attention" away from the economy and the Iraq war, Talmadge said.
Enforcement: As governor, Talmadge would not block local governments from issuing same-sex-marriage licenses. "I think local jurisdictions are entitled to do what they are attempting to do," he said. Talmadge said the state constitution's guarantee of equal protection for all people trumps Washington's law banning gay marriage. He would not intervene unless courts ruled otherwise.
Seattle Times staff reporter Andrew Garber contributed to this report. Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or email@example.com
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