Larry Stickney addresses the press.
Party: Reject R-71

Location: Holiday Inn, Everett

Mood: Cautious. R-71 was winning by a pair of points

Drink of Choice?


Election Night '09: Ken Hutcherson, Larry Stickney, and a Former Hippie Tell Me Why R-71 Should Go Down in Flames

Larry Stickney addresses the press.
Party: Reject R-71

Location: Holiday Inn, Everett

Mood: Cautious. R-71 was winning by a pair of points

Drink of Choice? That's a good question.

Larry Stickney walked out of the Reject R-71 effort's party -- off limits to members of the media -- and told reporters lingering in the hallway of Everett's Holiday Inn that the notion that R-71 was about partnership rights and not marriage was "the biggest fraud perpetuated on the state of Washington yet. We believe this is gay marriage. Because it ultimately will be. We've been saying it's marriage all along."

Sure, supporters of the Stickney-orchestrated opposition to Washington State's domestic partnership law claimed their concerns lie in the law's potential as a stepping stone to gay marriage. But it was obvious last night that the heart of the opposition is about protecting themselves and their children from "homosexual behavior" in the classroom, at home, and everywhere in between. It's got nothing to do with marriage.

Same-sex marriage, and perceived steps in its direction like approval of R-71, are the most mainstream and accessible pegs to which anti-gay activists like Stickney can hang their hat. Forget legislated rights of partnership or marriage, Stickney doesn't even believe same-sex couples should be raising children.

"We don't believe it's the best place to raise children," he says. "We believe in the traditional family, that the mother and the father is the best place. And that's why we continue to promote the traditional marriage as the very best place. It's still the best, and it's the one we should defend. We don't need to let every flavor of the month group come in and raid the institution for benefits and entitlements."

Here's what a few other voices had to say, Tuesday night, about their opposition to R-71:

Victor Chebotarev, 24, Renton via the Ukraine: History's always been husband and wife and the kids. But if it's going to be mom and mom, dad and dad, (kids) probably might get confused in life and get life wrong.

Pastor Ken Hutcherson, a leader of Reject R-71: Even if we win, we're ready for another battle. Because the final battle is marriage. And I wish that the homosexual community would quit lying about it, go ahead and put it on a ballot, and put it up for a vote. Let's vote for it. Quit playing games.

If they don't go for marriage are you still going to fight to overturn this?

Oh, yeah.

But you say it's about marriage so why would you keep pushing to overturn it?

Because I want them to know there's opposition for the things they're going to do to work toward marriage.

But, if they don't go for marriage in the next session, are you still going to fight to overturn this bill?

Well, I think that we're going to fight to overturn anything that goes toward marriage. Why wait for the cobra to bight you. Get rid of the cobra before it gets out of the cage. Every state, every country, every nation that has passed these laws, marriage has suffered, families have suffered.

How have they suffered in the states that have legalized marriage?

Do you know how bad marriage is happening in the Netherlands?

What about in the other states in the United States?

Well, look at Canada? You don't have to go that far.

How is marriage suffering in the states that have legalized same-sex marriage?

I think the number one thing you see is that a lot of people that go to those states aren't from those states, are they? A lot try to go to those states to get married to take it to other states. And what we're saying is, look, you want to come to Washington, we're gonna fight. Let's go ahead and do the real fight.

So, the problem is that if it was legal in Washington then people would be coming here from out of state to get married?

Absolutely. You don't have to be a citizen in the State of Washington do you, to come and get married here? That's why they wanted to come to the State of Washington in the first place.

Maggie Reich, 53, Port Orchard: Rejecting this isn't rejecting benefits, it just says go back to the table, and do it without redefining marriage.

So, you don't oppose benefits for same-sex couples?

(Pause) No.

So, if this was to be the end of the line and it didn't go on to gay marriage, you wouldn't oppose it?

I don't think so.

It doesn't sound like you're opposed to same-sex partnerships so much as same-sex marriages?

Yes, but where I have difficulty then is when it's taught in the schools. If you teach about homosexuality, you discriminate against the people who don't want that taught to their children. If you don't teach about homosexuality, you discriminate against the homosexual community. There is no middle ground, because once it's taught, it's taught.

So, you don't believe it should be taught, or you do believe it should be taught?

I don't believe it should be taught, because it's a conflict of moral perspective. And for the people who can't afford to take their kids out of public school ... what are they gonna do?

Do I hate people who are practiicing homosexual behavior? No. I have friends who are that way.

(A few minutes later, Reich comes back.)

What I see is that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. That people who are saying you need to be tolerant, are not tolerating my opinion, you know? They're saying we should respect each other, we should love each other. And, I stood on corners waving signs and the opposition was ... I was glad that my children weren't younger hearing what was said to them.

I was not always conservative.


I grew up in the '60s in the San Francisco Bay area.

What happened?

I realized that you can't just do whatever you want whenever you want. There are boundaries. Every culture has to have boundaries. We really can't do whatever we want, whenever we want, and however we want. And I certainly tried.

Any backlash at work when you asked people how they felt about R-71?

No. Because, they like me. I've earned respect over the years. But, the tables are turned.You're not free to speak. Not if you're a conservative. I've never been, too ... quiet.

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