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Tuesday, February 6, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Initiative ties marriage, procreation

Seattle Times staff reporter

Read the initiative


Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance: www.wa-doma.org

A group of gay-marriage supporters could begin collecting signatures today for a November ballot initiative that would limit marriage in Washington to couples willing and able to have children.

The measure would also dissolve the union of those who remain childless three years after marrying.

Are they serious?

Gregory Gadow, of the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, said the group hopes to make a point by parodying a state Supreme Court ruling last year that denied gays the right to marry because, among other reasons, such unions don't further the purpose of procreation.

Gadow, a computer programmer who lives on Capitol Hill, said that premise "has never been subject to public examination."

The justices, in a 5-4 ruling in July, upheld Washington's Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits marriage to a union of one man and one woman.

Gadow said his alliance — whose name itself is part of the parody, forming the acronym DOMA — is a loosely organized group of 15 or so friends. While they will work to get Initiative 957 on the ballot and passed in November, Gadow said he doesn't really want to see it enacted — and would expect the Supreme Court ultimately to strike it down as unconstitutional.

And that's the point, he said. By striking down I-957, he believes the court would be forced to confront its decision in the gay-marriage case.

"We want people to think about the purpose of marriage," he said. "If it exists for the purpose of procreation, they must understand then that these are the consequences."

The Rev. Joseph Fuiten of Cedar Park Assembly of God sees it all as nonsense — and doubts the sponsors will put much effort into it. They would need to gather at least 224,880 signatures by July 6 to get the initiative on the November ballot.

"It's so obviously a joke, poking fun at the argument that marriage is an institution for the having of children," Fuiten said. "I read it, laughed and threw it away."

Other gay-rights groups don't appear too eager to back the proposal, either.

Longtime gay-rights activist Bill Dubay said that while he gets the point of the initiative, it is unlikely he'd sign it.

"I don't think anybody in the gay community wants to take someone else's rights away," he said. "We just want to gain the rights that everybody else has."

The gay-rights organization Equal Rights Washington also won't endorse it, pointing out that families come in all forms, some of which don't include children. State laws, it said, should help — not hurt — families.

Gadow said the alliance would introduce two other proposals over the next few years, one that would prohibit divorce or separation by married people who have children together and another that would make having a child together the equivalent of marriage.

Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or lturnbull@seattletimes.com

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