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This Week: Sam Hasn't Read Calvin & Hobbes

Washington United for Marriage Does the Right Thing

Coalition Page from WU4M

We’re there.

I personally just got off the phone with Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage.  He made it very clear that while he didn’t know about what was happening with our coalition status, he wanted to make it clear that support of Referendum 74 is a wide coalition, and those of us without religion are a part of that coalition.

Our logo now appears on their coalition page.

He then did something I never, ever thought I would hear.   He apologized.

The people working in support of Referendum 74 at Washington United for Marriage are good people, and we never doubted that.  We were sorry, concerned, torn and hurt at some of the mistakes that had been made in the rush to make marriage equality a reality, but that was all.    Now that they’ve seen and corrected this error, we will do what we promised.

I intend on thanking Washington United for Marriage on changing their minds with my checkbook, and I hope you consider doing the same.  Donate to Washington United for marriage on our team, and help keep the atheism community a part of this historic moment in civil rights.

Do not let a corrected mistake by a small group of individuals deter you from removing religious privilege’s influence on marriage equality.

We would also like to thank everyone who donated during our stream-a-thon, and especially everyone who spoke out and let WU4M know how they felt.   We would not be here if you hadn’t taken personal interest in the fight for our place at the table.



About the Author: Sam Mulvey

Sam Mulvey is a producer and the technical brain behind Ask an Atheist. He is a collector of vinegar varieties, vintage computers, antique radios, and propaganda.

Feedback and Commentary

20 Comments 1 Trackback
Bryce Coutts August 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Great news! I had sent them an email expressing my disappointment, but now that they have changed their minds I have sent them another email thanking them for doing the right thing. I also sent them a small donation.

Fabricio August 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm


But, in other news, how do you guys feel being now part of the “Atheism Less” movement?

James B August 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I just sent them a donation with an e-mail explaining that I only did so after they resolved this in the only acceptable way.

Becky Friedman August 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thank you James!

RobC August 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Glad to see they’ve corrected their mistake, and a very gracious response by you Sam.

Rogi Riverstone August 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

On behalf only of myself as an atheist and a QUILTBAG, I want to personally apologize if you’ve received any disrespectful communications “inspired” by a rather self-righteous um jerk who had the nerve to tell his blog readers to come over here and harass you. I want you to know that I absolutely detest such tactics. I also want you to know his methods are not my methods. As a QUILTBAG person, I remember the pain I felt when a fundamentalist xian homeless shelter refused donations from a fundraising drag show. It hurt very deeply and a lot of us were angry. But we did not troll that shelter. We just worked harder to build bridges with people who were afraid to be associated with us. And that’s what I would have chosen to do in this situation. I’m embarrassed that this person may have caused you any unnecessary distractions during your struggle. I do think atheists have been vilified and stereotyped in our society. And I wish this guy hadn’t been so ham handed as to have possibly confirmed those prejudices about atheists. Best wishes, Rogi Riverstone.

Mike Gillis August 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Guys, we all won big time today.

Can we stop the internal community faction battles for just one day and bask in that?

Ty August 28, 2012 at 12:59 am

Well I’m glad to see they kept their word by putting the logo up. It’s disheartening to feel betrayed by people you not only consider allies, but by an organization you financially supported. Personally, I never knew or cared about any recognition for atheists when I gave. It was certainly frustrating to find out it was being specifically denied, though.

Now I just hope it actually doesn’t hurt their efforts with Ref.74, if I’m correct in thinking that’s why they buried the AaA logo. On the one hand the people who are likely to object to atheists probably already had their heads explode about gay marriage, but it’s feasible that it could slightly further motivate the segment of the population whose thesaurus entry for ‘satanist’ reads: “atheist, homosexual, liberal, muslim, etc.”

I wish Washington well in getting equal marriage rights for its citizens by a precedent-setting popular vote. And thanks to the AaA team for sticking up for atheist visibility; this kind of thing is a step in chipping away at distrust of atheists.

Jeff August 28, 2012 at 2:27 am

Hey, congratulations, gang! I came here to express my happiness at the outcome of this problem. I have no idea what the other people above are even talking about, but it doesn’t seem relevant to the topic of the post.

Ty, I don’t think they “buried” the logo, it’s probably just the most recent one added, so at the bottom of the list?

Sam Mulvey August 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Administrative Note:

There is some discussion about Atheism+ here, and it really doesn’t belong. I’ll be moving those comments to the appropriate podcast entry, where I hope you’ll continue discussing it.

fletc3her August 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I’m glad they did the right thing. I’m not an atheist per se, but I certainly appreciate the work you all do to expand support for atheists. It broke my heart to hear that you encountered problems with WUM.

Thorsen Vreeland August 30, 2012 at 12:16 am

Even if it took a shaming to make them see sense.

Please make sure they give your logo the same respect as the rest though. As far as I can see they haven’t added it yet under one of the group headings

John B August 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

Good news and congratulations. It seems I’m a bit behind. I just listened to the podcast that described the issue. I fired off an email requesting a refund my of donation. Then going to Washington United’s webpage I see it rescinded it’s ommission . So I quickly sent another email to WU4M and cancelled my request and wished them well. I’d like to give kudos to the Ask an Atheist crew for a job well done

Jordan Sugarman August 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

I didn’t find out about this whole debacle until I was listening to the podcast this morning (I had a backlog, okay?). So I was pretty pissed off when I walked into work. Thankfully, I came here first and saw the good news. Just made a $50 donation through your team. In the message box I thanked them for acknowledging the fund raising efforts of the atheist community. I also submitted a request to my company for matching funds.

Hopefully this whole thing will result in a more productive working relationship going forward. Our groups have one big commonality in that we all find ourselves on the receiving end of religious bigotry. Teaming up can only help.

Mark August 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Can you be a bit more specific as to how the apology was received and the wording of it?


Sam Mulvey August 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm


What would you like to know? It was a fairly short conversation, and the tone was nothing but conciliatory. No requests, demands, or requirements were made of us.

spookiewon August 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I find this heartening since as an atheist cancer survivor I’m still smarting about the American Cancer Society’s refusal to accept the Foundation Beyond Belief as a corporate sponsor for the Relay for Life; a stance that cost the organization up to a half million dollars in matched donations.

And Ty, people who actually care about equality stand together in the face of prejudice, even if it takes longer to get there together than one of us could get there alone. THAT was what was offensive in the first place.

Don Summers September 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Great news. They’ve acknowledged an error, corrected it as best as it can be corrected and now it’s time for folks to move on. There are really only two goals here:

a. to achieve marriage equality for all; and

b. to improve relations between the atheist community and other communities.

I think both goals have been advanced and really, what more can be asked for?

Don Summers September 1, 2012 at 1:47 pm

After my initial post, I visited the page with the logos and was surprised and pleased at the number of religious organizations that support marriage equality. A wide range of churches and synagogues are listed. I suppose it is just a reminder to me to check my presupposition that most religious folks are against equality and to remember that it does seem to be the fundamentalists and extremists that inhabit that territory. A huge “BZ” to these congregations for standing for equality for all, very well done indeed.

kiljoy616 September 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Good to hear, we won big time; time to push forward, who knows we may still save our country from superstition if not the world. I can only dream big after all. I personally don’t have issue with someone needing to believe but I do take issue with institutions ramming their superstition down my thought and that is why Atheist are so important to this country. Good to hear someone figure out they where doing the same thing to Atheist that they hated been done to them.




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