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November 21, 2011

Washington unites for marriage in 2012 (updated)

Posted in: marriage equality

The game is on in Washington state! Legislative leaders have announced that they will introduce a marriage equality bill when the Legislature begins a new session in January.

“We’re going to push it,” said state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, a gay lawmaker from the 43rd district and a leader in the marriage effort. “I believe 2012 is the best chance we’ve ever had to make marriage equality a reality.”

There is solid support for marriage equality in Washington, but passage of a marriage bill isn’t a certainty unless more legislators — Republicans in particular — are brought on board. “We cannot win with just Democrats,” says Senator Murray.

Enter Washington United for Marriage, “a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and businesses working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples”, which formally launched last week.

Washington United for Marriage will lead the statewide effort to educate and advocate for the freedom to marry for all Washingtonians. The coalition will mobilize constituents to talk to their legislators before and during the 2012 legislative session to ensure that the majority of Washington State citizens who support marriage equality have their voices heard. The goal is to have legislation legalizing civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire next year.

To get the ball rolling, Washington United for Marriage has been holding a series of town hall meetings at places of worship and community centers across the state, encouraging people to tell family, friends and neighbors why marriage is important to them.

“Though we come from different parts of Washington state, we are united in ensuring that all of Washington’s gay and lesbian couples can legally marry,” said Rod Hearne, executive director of Equal Rights Washington, the state’s LGBT civil rights organization. “Countless individuals have a story to tell about why civil marriage matters to them, and we will work neighbor-to-neighbor to ensure the voices of the loving and committed couples in Washington, many raising children, are heard.”

What you can do

  • Attend a town hall meeting (see list below the fold).
  • Share your story! Loving gay and lesbian couples and our friends and family need to share personal stories about why civil marriage for gay and lesbian couples is important to us. The Thanksgiving Day weekend is a great time to “talk turkey” about marriage with family and friends.
  • “Like” the Washington United for Marriage Facebook page and share their updates with your Facebook friends.
  • Follow @WA4Marriage on Twitter and watch for their hash tag #WA4M.
  • Keep tabs on the Washington United for Marriage website.
  • Sign up for e-mail alerts.
  • Contact your legislators and let them know that you support marriage equality.
  • Volunteer to canvass or phone bank.
  • Make a donation.
  • [List of forthcoming town hall meetings below the fold.]

    Bellevue:
    Monday, November 21
    7 to 9 p.m.
    East Shore Unitarian Church
    12700 Southeast 32nd St.
    Bellevue, WA 98005

    Tri-Cities:
    Monday, November 21
    6:30 to 8 p.m.
    Shalom United Church of Christ
    505 McMurray St.
    Richland, WA 99354

    Spokane:
    Tuesday, November 22
    6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    Spokane Falls Community College; Bldg. 24, Rm. 110
    3410 W Fort George Wright Drive

    Bellingham:
    Tuesday, November 29
    6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    Fairhaven College Auditorium
    516 High St.


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