On September 1, the Seattle Times published an opinion piece encouraging voters to approve Referendum 71, thereby upholding the state's domestic-partnership law and offering a fuller measure of legal equality to "loving couples and parents raising children who eagerly seek the rights and responsibilities that go with such elemental relationships." Bravo! On this, we completely agree with the city's sole surviving daily. But enough with the kisses. Polite editorials aren't enough from the Times—or any mainstream news outlet. This referendum came from somewhere. And that somewhere matters.
R-71 backers insist that they're protecting families. But that's a canard. This petition was the product of Gary Randall, a carpetbagging Oregonian who makes money running hate-mongering campaigns and, according to the Clackamas County recorder's office, owes $36,012 in unpaid federal back taxes. Also behind the measure is Larry Stickney, a thrice-married Christian extremist who allegedly beat his wife and refused to pay for his daughter's college education until a judge made him, according to records in Kitsap County Superior Court. The two lied every step of the way to get this on the ballot, claiming in television ads and on the petition that the measure was about gay "marriage" and that "public schools K–12 will be forced to teach that same-sex marriage and homosexuality are normal." They also tricked some supporters of gay marriage into signing the petition by claiming it would grant marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The Stranger has reported all of this in detail. Re-report it, Seattle Times—and SeattlePI.com and television stations and news radio. Don't cite us if you like; we don't care. Steal this story. Just don't be complicit in an attempt to fool voters into thinking this is about family. It never has been.
You've already shown that you believe in exposing who is behind a ballot measue in your coverage of Tim Eyman. Gone are the days when Eyman could get away with something like Initiative 200, which tricked scores of progressive Washington voters into voting for what appeared to be an antidiscrimination initiative when in fact they were repealing a law meant to provide racial minorities with fair opportunities to get a college education. Now when an Eyman initiative appears on the ballot, the Times warns us. As a result, the phrase "Eyman initiative" has become shorthand for "watch out, con in progress."
Eyman's latest effort, Initiative 1033, is getting exactly this kind of vetting. So why the kid gloves with Randall and Stickney?
Reporters, every time R-71 spokesman Randall gets quoted, be fair: Give him the Eyman treatment. Note that he's an Oregonian with a history of running anti-gay campaigns, taking home a bunch of money, and then refusing to pay taxes. Mention that his henchman, Stickney, wasn't committed to his first two marriages. Tell readers that these two can't explain what damage domestic partnerships would do to their marriages. And, lastly, tell people that their campaign lied all the way to the ballot and the bank.
As you know from your Eyman coverage, it's an important public service.