Presented by Sea Beez, Washington Hispanic Media Association, and the 98118 Coalition, the third annual Candidate Meet and Greet & Initiative Debate with Ethnic Media was hosted in Nagomi Tea House on Aug. 22.

Presented by Sea Beez, Washington Hispanic Media Association, and the 98118 Coalition, the third annual Candidate Meet and Greet & Initiative Debate with Ethnic Media was hosted in Nagomi Tea House on Aug. 22.

Local candidates and ethnic media gathered for three hours and half long, discussing Referendum 74 and Initiative 1240.

While the meet and greet was fairly mild mannered and polite, the debate proved to be contentious. In the debate on Referendum 74, advocates argued the issue of same-sex marriage and its impact on the community.

Referendum 74 is a state referendum filed to approve or reject a law to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Senate Bill 6239, which allows same-sex couples to marry, has passed the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. Opponents of the bill collected and submitted enough signatures to have Referendum 74 appear on the ballot of the upcoming general election.

Proponent of Senate Bill 6239, Rep. Patricia Hunter said marriage is about love, freedom and commitment. Couples loving each other, no matter what their sexual orientation, have the right to get married.

“Marriage is very different from domestic partnership,” Rep. Hunter said. “For example, a domestic partner has no right to accompany the other partner who is ill or injured in an emergency medical situation. For couples that love each other, they have the right to accompany each other no matter in what situations. They have the right to get married.”

Opponent of same-sex marriage, Director of Preserve Marriage Washington Chris Plante, argued that same-sex marriage attacks the family structure and harms children’s rights.

“Marriage is not only to satisfy adults’ desires, such as love and freedom, but also to protect our next generation,” Plante said. “Children need to be raised in a normal family so that they can have normal lives. Same-Sex parents cannot provide a normal environment for their children.”

In the other forum, Initiative 1240 was also debated concerning whether public charter schools should be allowed to operate free from many regulations set on public schools in terms of setting curriculum, budgeting, and managing teachers and staff.

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