Get Out Your Friends, Get Out The VOTE!

This November, every vote WILL count. We can’t win unless our supporters reach out and remind their networks that this election matters.

And now we’ve created a social tool to help you do it.

Today, we launched our “Get Out Your Friends” Facebook application. The app makes it easy to discover who among your FB friends has voted, and who still needs a little reminder to cast their ballot.

By using the GOYF tool,supporters can cross-reference their Facebook networks with the state’s publicly available voter database. The user can then send a message to their friends expressing their approval of the freedom to marry and activate their network to vote

“This is a 21st century voter tool that we believe our supporters will love and implement,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.

Once supporters vote, they can also create their own customized profile photo with a variety of Approve R74 graphics using the Approve 74 “I VOTED” tool.

Posted by scott | November 1, 2012

Countdown to Equality: Helen and Aimee

When Helen Fallat, 28, and Aimee Dailey, 34, got engaged, they didn’t know marriage was on the horizon—that is, for the state of Washington. In August 2011, domestic partnerships were all the state offered, and they planned a commitment ceremony for September 2012.

In the interim the Washington legislature passed marriage equality bill, but with implementation on hold pending the vote, they wouldn’t be able to actually wed in time to be September brides. The rental hall and caters had deposits so the show had to go on. And go on it did. The couple shared a day of commitment with their friends and family at the Guemes Island resort, that Helen’s sister describes as “amazing.”

They skipped registering for a domestic partnership because they are looking forwarding to marrying. Why does marriage matter? Aimee says she’s looked for her partner all her life and marriage is an institution people understand, “Your kids will respect it, your parents respect it.”

Helen’s perspective is bit more pragmatic: “It’s important having the state tell us they recognize the commitment we’ve made to each other, and that the state will respect and protect that.”

The two are in complete agreement that there will children are in their future. When I ask, they both simultaneously inject an enthusiastic “Yes!” It’s clear they’ve put a lot of thought into the endeavor.

Helen and Aimee live in Wallingford and both work as servers at the Coastal Kitchen in Seattle. Helen is studying physical therapy and volunteers at the University of Washington clinic. Why physical therapy? “It’s the one-on-one relationship you build with clients I enjoy,” she says. “You’re helping them to help themselves.”

What’s the “for worse” part of the marriage equation for Helen? “Aimee’s very neat. It’s nice that the house is always in order, but I had to be trained.”

And the “for better” part? Helen says “Aimee’s passion for life. She’s really excited just to be here, and live each day to the fullest. She’s a pretty happy person.”

Aimee says: “When you look at Helen you see the most genuine, kind person. She always has the best intentions towards all the people she meets.”

Posted by scott | November 1, 2012

[Video] Countdown to Equality: Jennifer and Elizabeth

When Jennifer Moran met her partner Elizabeth at a Dixie Chicks concert in 2005, she had no idea there was a suburban cul de sac in her future. She enjoyed the excitement of living in the city.

These days the Moran’s agenda involves more car pools than music concerts. The family is a little bit Brady Bunch—minus one plus a twist. The couple brought five kids to the relationship between them; twins Ryan and Quincy, 7; Ellie, 8, Ashley, 11; and Peyton 14. The kids are close and consider each other siblings.

Believe it or not, four of their five kids share a single birthday: September 9. Does Ashley, the lone April birthday feel left out? No, she loves it, says Jennifer: “Everyone feels sorry for her in September so they bring her a little gift, then she gets a birthday all to herself in April.” Birthdays were easier when the kids were younger, they could all have one party. Now Ryan has no interest in sharing his sister’s princess-themed parties.

The family moved from Ballard to Bothell in 2007. Jennifer, the Executive Manager of Carter Subaru and Volkswagen dealership in Shoreline and Ballard, wondered how their “modern family” would mesh in suburbia. She feared her kids not fit in. But things have worked out great. She says a “million dollars” couldn’t get her to move. The kids have lots of friends. Elizabeth, a stay at home mom, is busy with the kids, volunteering at the school, and car pooling. They feel like just every other family in the community.

Why does marriage matter? Jennifer says there wouldn’t be a change in her feelings or her commitment to the relationship or her family. But like any mom, she thinks first of her kids. When Gov. Gregoire signed the bill, they got excited to see their moms get married. The girls even picked out dresses.

“In their minds, they think we’re married, just the same as her best friends’ parents.” If the Referendum 74 failed, Jennifer can’t imagine how she’ll tell the kids. “The devastation and confusion… I don’t know how we’d explain to our kids that it wasn’t OK with people that their parents should be married.”

The couple already had a big commitment ceremony with their families after domestic partnerships passed in 2009. But they do intend to do it again, probably on the water which they love. The family has a 28-foot classic cruiser that sleeps the whole family, if maybe a little snugly.

“It won’t be anything that big again,” Jennifer says, “If I tried that Elizabeth would kill me.”

Elizabeth + Jennifer from Aaron Horton on Vimeo.

Posted by scott | October 30, 2012

Catholics Show Support for Marriage Equality

Our opponents would have you believe that people of faith are inherently opposed to extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. But here at Washington United, we know better. People of faith are a crucial part of our campaign to Approve Referendum 74. Catholics, in particular, have been outspoken in their support for defending our state’s bipartisan marriage law.
This past weekend, Catholics for Marriage Equality organized a “Liturgy of Love” — an event for pro-equality Catholics to come together and pray that Referendum 74 is approved on Election Day so that all loving couples can marry in Washington.

Events like this demonstrate that even though Catholic bishops unsurprisingly Despite the expected opposition from Seattle’s Archbishop and other leaders in the Church, fair-minded Catholics around the state are mobilizing to ensure that their voices are heard on Election Day. As one parishioner told the Seattle PI:

“I find (bishops’ claims) perplexing:. Nothing about marriage equality in the state of Washington is any infringement on liberty.  This is about civil marriage and civil law,” said John Morfield, a longtime parishoner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

National polls show that a majority of Catholics around the country support marriage equality, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in Washington. We’re incredibly grateful to the countless Catholic Washingtonians who are taking action with and investing in this campaign.

Click here to read more from the Seattle PI’s report on Catholic support for Referendum 74 in Washington.
 
Image: Joshua Trujillo/SeattlePI.com

Posted by sylvia | October 29, 2012

Photo of the Day: Trick or Vote!?

Image: Toby Crittenden

Over 400 costumed volunteers gathered at Temple de Hirsch Sinai before spreading out to neighborhoods across Seattle to speak to voters about Approve 74.

Posted by sylvia | October 27, 2012

Cougs for Marriage Video Goes Viral

Two weeks ago, Washington State University student Lakecia Farmer “had an idea to film and edit a video in support of Referendum 74, an initiative to approve same-sex marriage in Washington state.”

Two weeks later, her breakthrough video has been featured on Washington United for Marriage’s social media pages, covered on the Human Rights Campaign blog, and tweeted (and retweeted) numerous times after receiving thousands of views.

Set to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Same Love”, the video features over 30 Washington State University students dclaring their personal reasons for supporting Marriage Equality in Washington State.

The political science and philosophy major “Didn’t want to be quiet” about her support for Referendum 74, and believes she accomplished her mission with a short video that packed a powerful message.

See the video here:

 

Posted by sylvia | October 26, 2012

Busted: Opponents’ Ad Doesn’t Pass The “Smell Test”


Image: Flickr/The Rocketeer

Our opponents are on air with their latest ad and not surprisingly, there’s not much truth to it.

The ad features two instances in which opponents of the freedom to marry have supposedly been fined or fired for opposing marriage for same-sex couples. In the first example, innkeepers from Vermont claim that they were sued for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to host their wedding. The second example features a Canadian sportscaster who claims that he lost his job after he tweeted that he opposes marriage equality.

But as supporters of Referendum 74 know, these claims simply aren’t true. Approving Referendum 74 protects the rights of churches and individuals to define marriage however they wish. It merely allows committed same-sex couples to obtain civil marriage licenses. And when put to the test, our opponents’ ad — like the ads that have preceded it — just don’t stand true.

But don’t just take our word for it. The Tacoma News Tribune investigated the ad and came to the same conclusion:

The speakers describe their experiences accurately. But it’s a stretch to describe a firing by a private company in Canada and a penalty based on an anti-discrimination law in Vermont as examples of how “Referendum 74 can harm people who oppose gay marriage.” While it’s possible those kinds of incidents could happen in Washington, there’s no evidence that R-74 makes them more likely.

Click here to read more of their “Political Smell Test” and be sure to share it with your friends to help us fight back.

As our opponents continue to air deceiving ads featuring folks from out-of-state, we’ll continue to tell the stories of real, diverse Washingtonians who are casting their ballots to Approve Referendum 74.

Posted by sylvia | October 25, 2012

Tacoma City Councilman Ryan Mello: Approve Referendum 74

Ryan Mello is a member of Tacoma’s City Council and a strong supporter of this campaign. Recently, he penned a moving piece in the Tacoma News Tribune explaining why he – both as an elected official and as an openly gay man in a committed relationship – is voting to Approve Referendum 74.

Councilman Mello says that a commitment to marry the person you love is not unlike the commitment a city makes to it’s citizens. Just as a city promises to protect its citizens through even the worst times, a spouse makes a lifelong commitment to love and protect his or her spouse through the good times and the bad.

His call to Washington voters is spot-on, and really drives home what this campaign is all about:

“Marriage is the most definitive, universally understood statement a couple can make about their lifetime commitment and couples often wed in front of friends and family so they can help support the relationship in good times and bad. It is more than a legal status – it is the promise that two people make to provide each other the fundamental support we all need to be our best, day in and day out.”

Councilman Mello isn’t alone in supporting Referendum 74 in Tacoma. Earlier this month, the city council voted unanimously to endorse our campaign.

Click here to read Councilman Mello’s full piece in the Tacoma News Tribune.

Posted by sylvia | October 24, 2012

Congratulations to our Drawing Contest Winners!

We have winners in our “Draw your Family” Contest! One winner was selected from each age group (2-4, 5-7, 8-11). All submissions will receive a prize, but a special prize pack is reserved for each of our winners! Congratulations, kids!

Winner: (Ages 2-4) – Emma, aged 4

Winner: (Ages 5-7) – Xander, aged 6

Winner: (Ages 8-11) – Julia, aged 10

Posted by sylvia | October 24, 2012

Photo of the Day: October 23, 2012


Gonzaga University students canvassing for Approve 74 in Spokane.

Posted by sylvia | October 23, 2012

Photo of the Day: October 21, 2012


State Senator Ed Murray speaks at the Approve 74 Ballot Party on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Posted by sylvia | October 21, 2012

‘DRAW Your Family’ Contest!


Caspar Babypants says it best: Families can look different, but they are all valuable and all deserve a chance to shine!

Here’s your child’s chance to show off their family and shine. Have your child draw a picture of their family and submit their creation to our “Draw Your Family” contest for a chance to win a prize pack including movie passes, zoo passes, and gift certificates to Ivars.

One winner will be selected from each of the following age categories:

  • 5-7
  • 8-11
  • 12 and up

Please email all submissions to colleen [at] washingtonunited [dot] org by 5:00 pm on Friday, October 19th. Winners will be showcased on the Washington United for Marriage Facebook page.

Posted by sylvia | October 16, 2012

Children + Families Week: The Bessler-Rutledge & Lufkin families


The Lufkin & Bessler-Rutledge Families

Erin Hawkinson and Heidi Rutledge met in grad school in 1996. They got their first teaching jobs at the same high school, became roommates, and carpooled to and from work together.

Not long after embarking on their careers, Heidi met a lovely woman named Jen and fell madly in love with her. Erin met and fell in love with a fellow named Mike later that same year. Heidi and Jen attended Erin and Mike’s wedding two years later.

The two couples have stayed close over the years. Heidi’s partner Jen plays in the same soccer league as Erin, while their kids play against each other in the YMCA soccer league. All the kids (and sometimes parents, too…) enjoy a similar rivalry in their Nerf battles when they get together. The families vacation together, teaching each other’s kids to downhill ski and waging epic snowball fights.

As teachers, Erin and Heidi both have summers off. They spend lots of time together meeting up at parks so the kids can bike, swim & play. The two families also love to hike and explore mountain trails together. Heidi and Jen share the same hopes for their kids as Erin and Mike. They share the same challenges as busy parents, and the same joys in the day to day successes of their children.

Erin & Mike hope that Washington State voters Approve Referendum 74 so they can finally watch their good friends Jen and Heidi get married, and so the two families can both enjoy the recognition and security that comes with marriage.

Posted by sylvia | October 14, 2012

Approve 74 outnumbers opposition at Reject 74 rally in Seattle

What happens when the opposition throws a rally, but only a handful of people show up? You end up with an event in downtown Seattle that attracts more opposition than support.

As reported by the Seattle Stranger:

One of today’s organizers described it as a pastor’s rally, explaining that “we expect 30 pastors to arrive and proclaim that God’s definition of marriage is one man, one woman.” But those 30 pastors failed to materialize by 12:15 p.m., when the rally was scheduled to begin.


Them.

One of today’s organizers described it as a pastor’s rally, explaining that “we expect 30 pastors to arrive and proclaim that God’s definition of marriage is one man, one woman.” But those 30 pastors failed to materialize by 12:15 p.m., when the rally was scheduled to begin.

Meanwhile, across the Plaza, people of faith supporting Approve Referendum 74, quietly assembled and held up their Approve 74 signs and banners in a silent demonstration
of love and support.


Us.

One supporter even supplied Starbucks coffee (Starbucks is a supporter of Marriage Equality and Approve 74) to the assembled group during the protest.

Addressing the anemic rally turnout, Chip White, a spokesperson for the opposition approached the Stranger reporter:

“This is a press conference not a rally,” he said, perhaps by way of apology for the tepid turnout. “We were only expecting five pastors and I think we’ve exceeded our expectations.” [The Reporter] then asked him if he could send The Stranger the press release. White said that was impossible because he was “here, obviously.”

Posted by sylvia | October 13, 2012

BUSTED: More Old, Discredited Claims in New Reject R-74 Ad

Image: Flickr/The Rocketeer

Our opponents leading the Reject R-74 campaign are up with a new ad dredging up old claims and fear tactics to scare and misinform voters about Washington’s bipartisan marriage law. You can see the new ad here.

Said WUM Campaign Manager Zach Silk: “It’s ironic to us that our opponents, who claim to oppose the freedom to marry on behalf of children and families, would actually seek to treat one set of children differently from another. If they really cared about doing all that we can as a society to help kids succeed and thrive, then they should embrace marriage for those parents so that all families are treated equally and fairly.”

Among the “busted” claims in the ad are these:

CLAIM: “Gays and Lesbians already have the same legal rights as married couples.”

FACTS: While domestic partnerships are legal in Washington, states that have passed such laws have found them to be fundamentally unequal and harmful. [See herehere, and here.] As the Supreme Court of Connecticut wrote in 2008 when it struck down a statute that prohibited same-sex marriage, civil unions and marriage “are by no means ‘equal.’”  The court explained in its opinion: “Despite the truly laudable effort of the legislature in equalizing the legal rights afforded same sex and opposite sex couples, there is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage.” 

CLAIM: Marriage “was created for the care and well-being of the next generation.”

FACTS: Many households headed by same-sex couples in the U.S. are raising children. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 20 percent of same-sex couples are raising nearly 250,000 children.  Children being raised by loving, committed same-sex couples – like all children – deserve the protections that come from allowing their parents to marry.  

CLAIM: “When laws like 74 have occurred elsewhere, people who disagree have faced lawsuits, fines, and punishment.”

FACTS: Seattle Times national investigation “failed to turn up any evidence that same-sex marriage had produced a rash of suits involving businesspeople.”  The newspaper “also checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.”

 

Posted by sylvia | October 11, 2012

Children + Families Week: Anna’s Family

[Cross-posted from the Pride Foundation Blog]

I’m lucky to have five sisters: four I grew up with, and one that came to me by love. All of us have— or are about to have— children. And all of us are in strong, loving committed marriages. Except one of them isn’t recognized by law.

Here’s another way I’m lucky: my sister Molly is also just about my very best friend. She’s got a huge, loving, generous heart. She couldn’t be a more devoted aunt to my two daughters. She makes me laugh, she cries with me, she loves and supports me always. I like to think I do the same for her.

Just about 10 years ago, Molly told me she was gay. Throughout the difficult months that followed, we reached a whole new level of closeness.

I couldn’t have been happier when Molly and April became a couple. Not just because of how great they were together, but because of how much I connected with April. Almost instantly, she became an integral part of our family. I warned Molly that we might have to keep April around instead of her if they broke up. I was only half kidding.  I’ve come to think of April as my sister and have begun referring to her as my sister-in-love.

Now, nearly ten years after their meeting, Molly and April have a family of their own: a sweet and hilarious 2-year-old daughter and a son due any day. And although I have been married to a wonderful man for 21 years—and gave birth to my first daughter five years after that—I am constantly learning about the true nature of love from Molly, April and the family they’ve created together. I am so lucky to have April as my sister-in-love. Someday soon, though, I hope she can be my sister-in-law as well.

Anna McAllister lives in Seattle

Posted by sylvia | October 10, 2012

Welcome to Children & Families week!

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to hear a lot of misleading rhetoric from our opponents about what approving Referendum 74 means for Washington. And no matter how they characterize same-sex couples and their families or how many times mischaracterize the impact of defending marriage equality in our state, it’s important for us to remember what this campaign is all about: ensuring that all Washington families can share in the protections that only marriage provides.

That’s why this week, we’re celebrating Children & Families Week! We’re excited to highlight the thousands of loving families and their children across the state who are personally invested in approving Referendum 74! Throughout the week, we’ll be spotlighting Washington families – gay and straight – on our blog and social media and explaining what defending the freedom to marry means to them. We’re also organizing family-friendly events, including our families day at the Seattle Zoo this Saturday from 11-2 (click here for more details).

Stay tuned!

 

Posted by sylvia | October 9, 2012

Quote of the Day: October 3, 2012


“I support Referendum 74 because as a Christian student, I am called to be a servant of justice and love,”…“Approving Referendum 74 means gays and lesbians can express their love and commitment to one another in front of their friends, family, and congregations. I look forward to living in a state where everyone can marry the person they love.”–Meghan Kennedy, Campus Ministry, Seattle University

Posted by sylvia | October 3, 2012

Quote of the Day: October 2, 2012

“I support this campaign and the freedom to marry because I think it’s the most important ballot issue this November and my friends should be able to marry who they love,” –Mark Seymoure, Sigma Chi Fraternity member, University of Puget Sound.

Posted by sylvia | October 2, 2012

31 Days 4 Marriage

Posted by sylvia | October 1, 2012

Greenwood/Phinney Faith March in Seattle

Earlier today, over 250 faith leaders and church goers marched more than a mile through the Greenwood and Phinney Ridge neighborhoods of Seattle in support of Referendum 74. The all-ages crowd waved signs and carried banners as passing motorists waved and honked in support of the marriage for all.

The march was organized by Broadview United Church of Christ, St. John United Lutheran Church, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, and Woodland Park United Methodist Church. 
Dozens of people spontaneously joined in as the marchers walked from Woodland Park UMC down Greenwood and Phinney avenues to St. John United Lutheran across from Woodland Park Zoo. 

Posted by sylvia | September 30, 2012

Lutheran Pastors support Referendum 74

As we wrap up week of highlighting faith leaders in Washington who support the freedom to marry, we’re honored to share personal statements from two Lutheran pastors who are voting to approve Referendum 74 because of – not in spite of – their faith. We thank these courageous leaders for giving voice to the countless people of faith around the state who believe that all Washingtonians should be free to marry the person they love.

Erik Wilson Weiburg is the Pastor at Ballard First Lutheran Church and says that this election is cause to celebrate love:

“Fear is the great enemy of faith. It can freeze us where we stand and prevent us from doing the right thing. “Be not afraid!” Is one of the Bible’s favorite challenges. Had the Israelites given into their fears, the Egyptians might have overtaken them. Had Mary succumbed to fear, who knows how the course of history might have been altered?  This is a moment to celebrate faith in our gracious God; faith in the One who authors love and commands us to love one another.  So, be not afraid. Celebrate love. Vote for marriage equality, approve Ref. 74.”

For a Lutheran Pastor from Renton, WA, venturing into the political sphere isn’t typical.  But he and his wife knew that they needed to speak up for what is right and share with their family and friends why they’ve voting to approve Referendum 74:

“We tend to go quietly about our political business.  We vote in every election but you are not likely to find us posting campaign signs in our yard, signing petitions for causes we believe in or marching in parades as a demonstration of our support.  Going public with our support of R-74 is outside of our norm.  We are going public because we believe the time is right for the community at large to hear the voices of those in the Christian faith community who believe that the morally right and loving thing to do is to defend the right of civil marriage for loving, committed same- sex couples.”

You can read more about faith leaders who are speaking out in support of marriage equality by clicking here.

Posted by sylvia | September 29, 2012

Rev. Brandon Duran: “I wholeheartedly support marriage equality.”

Rev. Brandon Duran

This week, faith leaders from all over Washington are speaking out on the need to Approve Referendum 74 at the ballot this November so that all loving couples can share in the freedom to marry. Today, we’re featuring Rev. Brandon Duran, the Associate Pastor  at Plymouth Congregational UCC in Seattle:

“God’s love is meant to help us overcome all of the barriers we create between ourselves.  Marriage is about the character of the commitment, the offering of unconditional love and respect in every season of life.  As a pastor steeped in the Christian faith, with a love for the teachings of the Bible, I wholeheartedly support marriage equality and am proud to serve a congregation that endorses it as well.  Please vote to Approve Ref. 74.”

We thank Rev. Duran for his strong support of marriage for same-sex couples here in Washington. Be sure to click here to check out all of the action and resources available on our website for Faith Week!

Posted by sylvia | September 28, 2012

Catholics for Referendum 74: The Krueger Family

As we’ve seen during this week’s Faith Week, marriage supporters in Washington come from many faith traditions. The Krueger family is one of many Catholic families who are talking with friends and neighbors about why approving Referendum 74 and defending the freedom to marry is so important to their family. Their son Michael is gay, and Mr. and Mrs. Krueger strongly believe that all of their children should be able to marry the person they love in Washington:

“Our twins are God’s gifts to us, unique in every way. As parents we are called to nurture our children; as Catholics we are called to live the Gospel values.  Kate is married to Andrew and we want a similar love and commitment in marriage to be available to Michael who is gay.  We love our children and work for equal marriage and justice for both.”

Read more about Washington United for Marriage’s Faith Week here.

Posted by sylvia | September 27, 2012

Rev. Agtarap supports Referendum 74

As part of our Faith Week, Washington United is highlighting people of faith and faith leaders throughout the state who are speaking out in support of Referendum 74 and extending marriage to all loving and committed couples. Today’s post comes from Rev. Shalom Agtarap, the Pastor of Ellensburg United Methodist Church. Click here to read more about faith week.

 

Incompatible with Christian teaching. Threat to traditional marriage. Unworthy of equal rights and benefits.

These phrases are often used to argue against marriage equality. In my formal work and life as a follower of Jesus, however, I can’t find a place in Scripture where Jesus denigrates those who commit themselves to love of God and neighbor; the only principles that really matter. I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and I support marriage equality. Approve Referendum 74!

Rev. Shalom Agtarap,
Pastor Ellensburg United Methodist Church

Posted by sylvia | September 26, 2012

NOM vs. T-Mobile

We’ve been down this road before.  Starbucks endorses marriage equality and Referendum 74, and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announces a boycott.  Rough result: 45,000 for them, 650,000+ for those supporting Starbucks and its position.

Fast forward to T-Mobile which announced its support of R74 and donated $25,000 to Washington United for Marriage.  Quicker than you could hit your redial button, NOM announced a boycott of T-Mobile.

But here’s where it gets interesting.  I thought I’d poke around and, for starters, it wasn’t all that easy to even find the NOM petition.  I actually had to research the blog where I first learned about the boycott, which led me to the petition details. A few minutes later, and I was at ACTRight, a right-wing online fundraising platform run by NOM President Brian Brown.

I then entered an obviously fake name, fake contact info and reported my phone bill was roughly $960 annually.  Once I entered that information, NOM allowed me to take the next step and go to the petition site which among others, had an “Impeach and Remove Chief Justice John Roberts” (under 100 signers).

Knowing NOM keeps a running count of signers, I went back to the T-Mobile petition and saw this:

Just 11 signers. I was #12.  Even the financial tally was crazy: $960, obviously the figure I had given just moments before. Wow. What an impact.

[UPDATE] In the 4 days since this post was written, the number of petition signers has skyrocketed from 12 to 24. The economic impact hasn’t gone beyond my fictitious $960 figure.

Screenshot taken at 10:54 am PT today:

 

 

Posted by sylvia | September 24, 2012

Communities of Color Week: Marination!


Roz Edison and Kamala Saxton

Since hitting the road nearly three years ago, “Big Blue”, the food truck, has become a moving target – literally – for foodies from all over the state.

The big navy blue truck was the first location for Marination, an acclaimed Korean-Hawaiian restaurant started by owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison. Marination now has a fixed location in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Saxton and Edison plan to open a second location this fall in West Seattle, and already run a catering branch.

Being a destination for diners parallels what Saxton and Edison foresee for the state of Washington if Referendum 74 is approved this fall. Only instead of SPAM sliders and Kimchi quesadillas, the draw will be the freedom for same-sex couples to marry, and new business generated by gay and lesbian couples in love that want to honoring their commitment to one another through marriage.

“Approving Referendum 74 is good business for a number of different reasons. It’s good for tourism. It’s good for ‘wedding industry’ businesses like florists, caterers, jewelers, restaurants and hotels. And, it makes a statement about Washington and how we treat all citizens in this state,” said Saxton.

“Marriage matters to everyone, including loving gay and lesbian couples who want to spend the rest of their lives with one another,” Saxton continued. “Approving Referendum 74 makes good business sense, but it’s also common sense that everyone – including our customers, vendors and employees – should have the freedom to marry.

According to the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, upholding Washington State’s marriage equality law could bring some of the following benefits to businesses like Saxton and Edison’s:

–Improve recruiting efforts, as state businesses currently have to compete against companies in states like Massachusetts and New York that have extended civil marriage as an option to same-sex couples.

–Add $88 million to our state’s economy over the first three years of the change in law, according to an estimate made in a 2012 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA. Businesses represented in the Chamber’s membership that stand to directly benefit include jewelry stores, clothing retailers, hotels, photographers, caterers, and restaurants.

“There is a clear business case for supporting equal access to civil marriage,” said George Allen, senior vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber. “Marriage equality allows our companies to streamline benefit administration, improves our ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and helps our state’s bottom line.”

Saxton and Edison agree with the Chamber, but also have personal reasons for voicing their support for Approve 74. They’re not just business partners, they’re also life partners, who have experienced first-hand the challenges of not having the choice to legally committed to one another in marriage. “Because we own a business together, we always have to clarify what we mean by ‘partners’. Marriage gives you another option – ‘spouse’.”

Both also come from communities of color – Saxton as a Hawaiian Korean, and Edison a Chinese Filipino – where they have seen that strong families make strong communities. They believe marriage for all will benefit everyone.

As for the two of them if Referendum 74 is approved? Will they be getting married? “Time will tell, but having the choice to marry gives us the option to say something definitive about our love and commitment to one another. And that’s what we want for everyone.”

Meanwhile, the wait for Kalbi Tacos at any of the Marination locations will always be worth it, but the wait for marriage equality in this state may soon be over if voters approve Referendum 74 in November.

Posted by sylvia | September 20, 2012

Communities of Color Week: Eric Liu

We begin our focus on communities of color this week with an Approve Referendum 74  message from Seattle’s own Eric Liu – an author and civic entrepreneur.

“This is about love and family but it’s also about being an American. Most of the arguments that were once used against interracial marriage are now being used by opponents of same-sex marriage. Those arguments deny the full humanity and citizenship of our fellow humans and citizens. As a person of color and the parent of a mixed-race child, I believe the fight for marriage equality is my fight too. I proudly endorse Referendum 74.” – Eric Liu

Posted by sylvia | September 17, 2012

Corporate Week: Raising Millions for Marriage

At Washington United, we couldn’t be prouder of the historic levels of support we’ve received from some of the nation’s most iconic companies.

Those thousands of employees who proudly represent these giants and the hundreds of small businesses statewide who support R74 and this campaign, make their communities stronger not just through their work, but through their civic and volunteer activities as well.

That’s why we were delighted — but not surprised — to see so many of these same employees come together to do their part to help protect marriage in Washington State.

In fact, several corporate employee groups have launched internal fundraising drives, creating online team pages, through our Raising Millions for Marriage program. This is a fun and easy way to both show your corporate pride and provide vital funds for the campaign.

The Raising Millions for Marriage program, one our most popular and important efforts, is easy and fun, and it’s all online.

You create a fundraising page for yourself or your company team, and instantly, you’ve got an accessible, user-friendly vehicle to reach out to your co-workers and their social networks.  And the campaign is there to help get you launched and make sure your efforts succeed.

To learn more about Raising Millions for Marriage, or to set up a team page for your company, contact Leigh Ann at leigh@washngtonunited.org.  Become a Millions for Marriage Leader and join the team.

Thanks a Million.

Posted by sylvia | September 14, 2012

Corporate Week: Senior Leadership at Alaska Air Group


Brad Tilden and Glenn Johnson

Senior leadership at Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines have announced their support for Washington United for Marriage and the campaign to Approve Referendum 74, joining a growing number of corporate leaders and businesses who understand the fundamental fairness of the bipartisan marriage law.

For Alaska Air Group and Alaska Airlines president Brad Tilden (pictured left) and his wife, Danielle, it comes down to doing the right thing. “Marriage equality is the right and fair thing to do in and for our state,” said Tilden, “From a business perspective, we risk losing qualified employees and applicants to other states which have adopted marriage equality statutes. Danielle and I are proud to support this initiative and are hopeful it will take our state to a new and more equitable place.”

Joining Tilden and his wife, is Glenn Johnson (pictured right) and his partner Mike, who have been together for 15 years. Johnson, a 30-year Alaska Group veteran and president of Horizon Air, said, “[My partner] Mike and I have been in a committed relationship for 15 years; we take our responsibilities as a married couple to each other, to our community and to our workplace very seriously. Approving marriage equality is simply about creating strong families, like ours who live, work and love side by side with
every other family in America.”

Joining the two senior leaders in supporting the effort is Keith Loveless, general counsel of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group. “I’m proud to live in a state where the legislature and governor have acted to legalize same-sex marriage,” said Loveless. “Passage of R 74 is important for customers and employees of Alaska Airlines. And it’s important to me.”

Posted by sylvia | September 12, 2012

Thank T-Mobile!

Late last month, we were excited to announce that T-Mobile officially endorsed approving Referendum 74 in November by making a $25,000 to our campaign.

T-Mobile, one of WA’s leading companies, and one of several corporate leaders throughout the state who are supporting marriage equality because they know that approving Referendum 74 is good for business (Click here to read more about business support for Referendum 74).

But yesterday, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of T-Mobile, attacking the cell phone company for fighting for the freedom to marry here in Washington.

That’s why today, we launched our Thank You card to let T-Mobile know that the majority of Washingtonians stand with them in supporting marriage for same-sex couples.

It’s crucial that we let those who stand with us know that we’ll stand with them, too. Click here to sign the card and then be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted by sylvia | September 11, 2012

Marriage Equality Highlights from DNC Convention

In case you missed it:

Posted by sylvia | September 10, 2012

Raising Millions for Marriage: A message from Lacey


Lacey All is campaign chairwoman of Washington United for Marriage.

We here at Washington United for Marriage are extremely excited about our Raising Millions for Marriage program. Raising Millions for Marriage is an online fundraising tool designed to help people reach out to their social networks.

Supporters of the freedom to marry live all across the country, and they have friends and family in all corners of the world. If you want to defend the freedom to marry in Washington, it’s likely you know someone who wants to help.

Raising Millions for Marriage provides an easy to use platform to reach out to these people. It only takes a few minutes to register, and then you can start contacting your friends and family immediately.

Even better, all the content on the page and the emails can be customized – allowing you to tell your story.

You can also create a team, or join someone else’s. Team fundraising on Millions for Marriage allows people to unite with their co-workers, friends, and congregations. Raising Millions for Marriage has already been used successfully for weddings, house parties, and faith events across the state. Imagine what you could do with your next event!

Raising Millions for Marriage has seen a huge increase in registrations in the last month. There are now more than 400 people signed up, with more than $260,000 raised!

We know once we get as many people as possible sharing their stories and asking for donations, then we’ll be on the path to well over a million dollars. We need to reach 1,000 registrants in September, and we know we can do it with your help. If you have not registered, please take a few moments to do so now.

Once signed up share it with your friends and family, post it on your Facebook page, and tell everyone why the freedom to marry is so important to you.

Finally, think of other people in your life who you know would love to be a part of this historic campaign, and ask them to join Raising Millions for Marriage. Together, we can harness the power of our friends and family to Raise Millions to support the fight to defend marriage equality in Washington.

Thanks a Million,

Lacey

Posted by sylvia | September 7, 2012

The Conscience of a Catholic Senator

Washington State Senator Debbie Regala shares the personal journey that led her to the decision to leave her home parish after her vote in support of Washington’s historic bi-partisan marriage equality legislation.

Via: Crosscut

“Referendum 74 is not about the Catholic definition of sacramental marriage. It’s a civil rights issue and a legal issue. All couples should have the civil right and the privilege to make the same public statement of their love and commitment to each other. And one of my disappointments is that the Catholic Church chose to insert itself into this battle.”

Posted by sylvia | September 7, 2012

Women’s Week: NARAL Pro-Choice Washington

Jennifer N. Brown

“NARAL Pro-Choice Washington proudly supports full marriage equality and the campaign to Approve Referendum 74. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love and build strong and healthy families.”

— Jennifer N. Brown, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington

Posted by sylvia | September 5, 2012

Women’s Week: Planned Parenthood Votes NW


Jen Ham with US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)

Why I support Referendum 74
by Jen Ham

I am proud to work for an organization that supports [marriage] equality. Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest (PPVNW) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization educating Alaska, Idaho, Washington and policy-makers about reproductive health issues.

We support equality under the law, and access to social services for all families regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender or sexual orientation. That is why we support Approving Referendum 74— because we support strong families.

We firmly believe that all people should be able to determine the course of their lives, and we are glad to be part of a movement that supports the same principle. Our mission includes protecting and promoting the health of all families, no matter their makeup. We are proud to stand behind the many men, women and families seeking to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love, and protect their families.

This November, our field team in Washington is pulling out all the stops to make sure that the freedom to marry is available to all in Washington, and we WILL Approve Ref. 74!

Jen Ham is a Community Organizer for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest. She is a graduate of Central Washington University, was a member of the 2006 Soulforce Equality Ride, and loves Star Trek. She lives in Ellensburg with Joanna, her supportive partner of almost nine years, their dog, and their four unsupportive cats.

Posted by sylvia | September 4, 2012

Expedia, Inc. Statement of Support: Sept. 4, 2012


Expedia Inc. President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Expedia, Inc. Stands in Support of Marriage Equality

As the world’s largest online travel company – with operations in well over 30 countries – we know firsthand that the world is a diverse place. Much like our customers, clients, partners, and suppliers, our employees represent a multitude of locations, cultures, and experiences. We encourage Expedians to bring their collective intelligence and myriad skills to work every day to make travel more accessible for our customers. As such, we are committed to creating a workplace environment in which everyone thrives.

We strive to actively promote equality in our workplace and are committed to treating one another with respect and dignity. Part of our overall diversity efforts is providing a supportive environment for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) employees.

Today, we add our voice to the topic of marriage equality. We thoughtfully engage in this public discussion because it has a significant impact on our employees, customers, and partners, all with whom we interact daily. Supporting the legislation recently passed in Washington State – which provides same-sex couples with the same right to civil marriage that opposite-sex couples already enjoy – is a natural extension of our ongoing commitment to the LGBT community.

Therefore, Expedia, Inc. is proud to declare support of marriage equality for same-sex couples everywhere.

Respectfully,
Dara Khosrowshahi – President/CEO, Expedia, Inc.

Posted by sylvia | September 4, 2012

Union Week: Meet Erin Leary


Name: Erin Leary
City: Seattle, WA
Occupation: Nurse
Union affiliation: SEIU 1199

As a mother, a health care professional and a long-time domestic partner, Erin Leary is one of many faces of our campaign. Her support and her story a touching reminder of the reason we all support Referendum 74.

“When you support marriage equality, you support families,” Erin said. “People get married because they want to be a family. They don’t want to do it for financial benefits; they want to devote themselves to each other as a family. To me, [supporting Ref 74] is just supporting people being in a family.”

And Erin wants others to feel the same way.

“The domestic partnership…it just doesn’t really say you’re committed. It doesn’t give you the same benefits as a marriage gives you. People say, ‘you’re married,’ and you don’t have to explain it any more. They get it.”

Erin, her son, and her partner Michael Scott – a manger at Cobalt, are a family. And like so many other families, they want to be validated, recognized by their community. Like so many others, Erin and her partner want the freedom to marry.

So come November, they’ll be voting to Approve Referendum 74. They’ll be voting to support their community and they’ll be voting to support their family.

Because in the end, it’s about family.

Posted by sylvia | September 2, 2012

Union Week: Photo of the Day

Featuring United Auto Wokers Local 4121 at the Wednesday union phone bank:

Posted by sylvia | August 31, 2012

Quote of the Day: August 30, 2012

From Scott Shiflett, a meatcutter from Mt. Vernon, WA and member of UFCW 21:

“…Freedom is really whatR-74 is about. I hope you will support R-74 and the freedom of people to marry whom they love. I know I do. And I can’t imagine anyone, including the state, telling me that I could not have married my wife.”

Posted by sylvia | August 30, 2012

Union Week: Meet Kathy Garvin — WEA

Name: Kathy Garvin
City: Tacoma, WA
Occupation: Educational Support Services — Operations
Union affiliation: ESPCP/Washington Education Association

Why do you support Referendum 74?

Marriage is a celebration, a commitment, and a legal agreement that should be available to everyone….Referendum 74 simply reinforces what should already exist, [freedom] for everyone to marry.

Do you think Marriage Equality is a labor issue? Why?

Is marriage equality a labor issue? Yes. Ref. 74 says all families should be treated equally. Rather than analyzing which rights are granted in a domestic partnership, an employer would simply need to know that all married employees share the same benefits.

Posted by sylvia | August 29, 2012

Union Week: Meet Mark Mains


Name: Mark Mains
City: Mukilteo, WA
Occupation: 3rd Grade Teacher — National Board Certified
Union affiliation: Mukilteo Education Association

Why do you support Referendum 74?

For me, it’s a matter of fairness. My wife and I have a number of gay friends. One particular friend met a man from a different country and fell in love with him here in the U.S. Because they were unable to take the next step and marry, his love was unable to stay in the country and was forced to leave. My friend was devastated. It was a devastating situation.

Do you think Marriage Equality is a labor issue? Why?

It is a labor issue. As a union, we bargain collectively for benefits– family benefits like medical care, life insurance, etc. Our union is dedicated to supporting the dignity of all its members, regardless of who they choose to love. But we can’t bargain for any rights that aren’t codified by state law.

Our legislature took the lead by passing this historic legislation and it’s up to all of us to follow-through by voting to uphold their action by approving Referendum 74.

Posted by sylvia | August 28, 2012

Small Biz Week: Tutta Bella Pizzeria — Seattle, WA


(photo: Tom Schabarum)

Business Name: Tutta Bella Pizzeria
Location: Seattle, WA
Specialty: Restauranteur
Business Owner: Joe Fugere

Is Approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

At the heart of Tutta Bella is our purpose which is to nourish lives by sharing traditions, authentic food and love. Many of our employees and guests alike are part of the lesbian and gay community and creating an environment where all of our employees and guests feel welcomed, nourished and respected along with supporting the communities in which we operate is an essential part of what we do every day.

Same-sex couples deserve the same respect and dignity as their peers and that loving, committed relationships add to vibrant and diverse workforces.

Posted by sylvia | August 26, 2012

Quote of the Day: August 26, 2012

“It is [as] good for the business as it is good for people.” –Dani Cone, Owner, Fuel Coffee Seattle and Hi 5 Pie on approving Referendum 74.

Posted by sylvia | August 26, 2012

Small Biz Week: Choke Print Shop + Promotions — Seattle, WA


Business Name: Choke Print Shop + Promotions
Location: Seattle, WA
Specialty: Print & Apparel
Business Owner: Matt Thompson & Jeff Gonzales

Why do you personally support Referendum 74?

Its simple. Jeff and I have been together for 10 years and would love to some day have the option to be married. [Also] passing R74 at the state level helps the cause nationally.

Is Approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

Doing the right thing is good for business. Showing others around the country that Washington supports equality for everyone will help businesses across the state both is sales resulting from weddings as well as making our state more competitive in the hiring arena.

Posted by sylvia | August 25, 2012

Small Biz Week: Spicy Soul Catering — Olympia, WA


Business Name: Spicy Soul Catering
Location: Olympia, WA
Specialty: Caterer
Business Owner: Maria Garcia-Rojas

Why do you personally support Referendum 74?

My best friend in Mexico is a part of the gay community. I hope that one day he can marry the person of his choice.

Is Approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

Spicy Soul has participated in Olympia Pride for the past two years. Over that time many gay and lesbian couples have spoken with us about catering a wedding reception or wedding events. I believe our catering business sales will increase once the people of Washington State approve Referendum 74.

Posted by sylvia | August 24, 2012

Small Biz Week: Pacific Grill — Tacoma, WA


Business Name: Pacific Grill
Location: Tacoma, WA
Specialty: Restauranteur
Business Owner: Gordon Nacarrato

Why do you personally support Referendum 74?

Personally I have family, friends and coworkers in the gay and lesbian community, many of them in committed relationships. With the Freedom to Marry, my friends will have the economic stability and protections that comes with marriage.

Is Approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

For me, it’s an empowering feeling to endorse and support R74. Like other businesses, I want to recruit and hire the best employees possible and have them live authentic lives in our city. Approving Referendum 74 will be a huge step in that direction.

Posted by sylvia | August 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day: August 23, 2012

From a volunteer phone bank our Capitol Hill Action Center:

Join us next week! We hold phone banks at the Capitol Hill Action Center (517 E. Pike Street) Monday – Thursday from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

Posted by sylvia | August 23, 2012

Small Biz Week: Thinking Cap Communications and Design — Spokane, WA


Business Name: Thinking Cap Communications and Design
Location: Spokane, WA
Specialty: Advertising and Graphic Design
Business Owner: Marvo Reguindin

What are your personal reasons for supporting Referendum 74?

My partner and I have been together for 17 years and we should have the same protections and benefits to build our lives together that other couples enjoy.

Is approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

Marriage equality in a nutshell means gay and lesbian employees won’t need to find the financial resources and take time during the workday to find alternate ways to continually protect and build their lives together.

Posted by sylvia | August 23, 2012

Small Biz Week: Elliott Bay Books — Seattle, WA


Business Name: Elliott Bay Book Company
Location: Seattle, WA
Specialty: Bookseller
Business Owner: Peter Aaron

Why do you personally support Referendum 74?

It’s about my friends, loved ones and family in the LGBT community being able to make the same commitments in a loving relationship that I can.

At Elliott Bay Book Company I’m aware of two couples that are thrilled that the legislature approved the freedom to marry for all. These couples are now looking forward to a day soon when they can stand in front of friends and family and commit themselves in marriage.

Is Approving Referendum 74 good for your business? Why?

I hope that one day we will live in a community, city, state, country, and culture, that is supportive of the freedom to marry for all. When fairness and equal protection is provided to all people our communities are better off, including businesses.

Posted by sylvia | August 23, 2012

Small Biz Week: Blue Moon Burgers – Seattle, WA

Washington United for Marriage is proud to kick off this Small Business week with the announcement of 327 small businesses across the state having pledged support for the Approve Ref. 74 campaign to defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law.

These business owners all share the same belief– that loving same-sex couples should be able to marry the person they love.

Throughout the week, we’ll be featuring a few of these small businesses from across the state, each sharing why Approve 74 is good for their businesses and communities.

We’re kicking off the business highlights with this video from Charlie Olson, owner of the Seattle-based burger chain, Blue Moon Burgers. Find out why Charlie thinks Approve 74 is “the right thing to do.”

If you are a small business owner ready to pledge your support for the Approve Ref. 74 campaign, click here to get started.

Posted by sylvia | August 22, 2012

Honorable Mention…

We wish we had a token of appreciation for each video entry we received for the ‘Why Marriage Matters’ contest. The videos were creative, heartfelt and deeply personal.

It was a tough job narrowing so many entries down to three finalists, but we did, ultimately leaving out some really neat videos in the process.

There’s one from Noah in Seattle who speaks movingly of his friends in loving, committed same-sex relationships. There is a humorous one of two little boys in the backseat of a car pondering the difference between marriage and domestic partnerships. There’s even a Seattle city councilman thrown into the mix.

Here are a few of the videos that didn’t make the final cut, yet deserve an audience anyway:

Noah:

Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess:

Car Trip:

Posted by sylvia | August 21, 2012

And the video contest winner is…

In July, we came to all of you, asking you to submit a short video explaining why marriage matters to you. We received 60 submissions from people all over the state, from all walks of life, each providing a valuable addition to the story of this campaign.

It was a difficult picking just three finalists, but we did. One was Sonya Marinoni of Bainbridge Island, happy that her daughter could marry her partner in New York, but hoping that after November, other parents can see their children marry here.  And also Nathan Tedrow of Seattle who volunteers for the campaign and made a heartfelt case for the freedom to marry.

But when the votes were counted — and it was very close — the winner was the Flentke-Terry family of Vancouver who were introduced to viewers by eight-year-old Emma.  Check out all three here:

Emma

Nathan:

Sonya:

Posted by sylvia | August 21, 2012

Why Marriage Matters to Patricia Flores

Patricia Flores is a proud grandmother from Seattle. And like any grandparent, all Patricia wants is for her seven grandchildren to be happy.

Her second-born grandson Jesse came out as gay when he was fourteen, and while Patricia was overjoyed that Jesse shared this important part of who he was with her, she knew that unlike her other six grandchildren, Jesse would someday be denied the freedom to marry the person he loves:

“Six of my grandchildren have the… freedom to marry. But one of them, Jesse, doesn’t have that freedom. And it makes me really sad. It makes me angry and frustrated because that freedom is just as important to Jesse.”

For Patricia, the campaign to Approve Referendum 74 is personal. She wants to watch all of her grandchildren– including Jesse– build a life, have a family, and marry the person they love.

Watch Patricia’s touching video explaining why Approving Referendum 74 is so important to her. Then check out our other videos featuring everyday Washingtonians sharing why marriage matters to them.

Posted by Andy Grow | August 8, 2012

Tweet of the Day: August 8, 2012

We’re in Eastern Washington today talking to small businesses about how they can join the campaign to Approve Referendum 74. Want to learn more about how small businesses are helping to defend the freedom to marry in Washington? Click here.

Posted by Andy Grow | August 8, 2012

TV Ad: Journey

Check out the latest TV ad from our coalition partners at the Pride Foundation that’s now airing statewide! The ad features Reverend Gib Rossing and his wife Beth explaining why they want their son Jonathan to have the freedom to marry his long-term partner Ryan here in Washington.

Like many Washingtonians, Rev. Rossing and Beth weren’t always sure how they felt about marriage for same-sex couples. But as they witnessed Jonathan and Ryan’s committed relationship, they came to realize that all loving couples want to marry for similar reasons: to make a lifetime commitment before family and friends.

The ad is the latest in an ongoing public education effort to make the case for marriage for gay and lesbian couples across the state.

Watch the ad now and then share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!

Posted by Andy Grow | August 7, 2012

Vote Love

Music for Marriage Equality supporter and Seattle-based hip-hop artist Macklemore covers this week’s edition of The Stranger. In it, he provides the background and inspiration for “Same Love”, the tune produced with collaborator Ryan Lewis, also featuring Mary Lambert.

The tune has already scored over 10,000 downloads. 100% of the digital download proceeds benefit the fight for marriage equality. Be sure to get yours today through iTunes or Amazon.

Posted by Andy Grow | August 2, 2012

Photo of the Day: August 1, 2012

The “Savage Love” burger is the August “burger of the month” at Blue Moon Burgers in Seattle. Blue Moon teamed up with celebrity columnist, author, and Stranger editor Dan Savage to create the the burger, and will donate 25% of the burger proceeds to Washington United for Marriage.

We tried it this evening. The verdict: delicious.

Posted by Andy Grow | August 1, 2012

Historic.

Photo: Matthew Slater/Bloomberg News

Earlier today, Washington United for Marriage announced a historic donation to the Approve Referendum 74 campaign from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and wife, Mackenzie. The couple’s $2.5 million gift is believed to be the largest gift ever donated to a marriage equality campaign to date.

via The New York Times:

With the gift, the couple have doubled the money available to the proponents of Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in the state by affirming a law that passed the Legislature this year.

Proponents of the effort in Washington State called it a game-changing gift that gives them a fighting chance in November.

Read the complete story.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 27, 2012

#SameLove available for sale on iTunes

Seattle Hip-Hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s poignant, personal ode to Marriage Equality “Same Love” is now available for sale.

Yesterday, Sub–Pop records released the single on iTunes and Amazon at .99 per copy.

The best part: 100% of the digital download proceeds will go to benefit the fight for Marriage Equality.

As of this writing, the single has already cracked the top 200 singles and is #29 on the iTunes hip hop singles chart. Let’s push it higher.

Download your copy today, and spread the word among your friends and fellow supporters.

Click here to listen and purchase.

Posted by sylvia | July 25, 2012

#BFF4M Week

Today, we launched Best Friends 4 Marriage (#BFF4M)– a fun concept that asks everyone, gay and straight to acknowledge the bonds of friendship that motivate support for the Approve Ref. 74 campaign to defend the freedom to marry in Washington State.

So, how do you get in on the fun?

Just snap and upload a photo of you and your gay/straight friend. Or a photo of you holding up the name of the friend for which you are supporting Ref. 74.

Are you using Instagram? Flickr? It doesn’t matter to us. Simply tag it with our #BFF4M hashtag– to help us find it on the web. Be sure to add your first name(s) and your location. And we’ll add you to our circle of support on our #BFF4M Pinterest board.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate friendship, let’s celebrate love and keep your eyes peeled for some special events saluting this bond in the week ahead.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 16, 2012

Episcopal Church Blesses Unions for Same-Sex Couples

On Tuesday, the Episcopal Church overwhelmingly approved liturgical rites for same-sex couples. Over 75% of the voting bodies at the Episcopal General Convention, which includes priests, bishops, and lay members alike, voted to include gay and lesbian couples in the church’s holy covenant service. The service, while not classified as a marriage, will enable couples to stand to make a lifelong commitment to one another while standing at the altar before family and friends.

The Episcopal Church, which boasts 85 million members nationwide, joins a growing number of faith communities in affirming that all committed couples deserve equal recognition and respect. Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, the Episcopal Bishop of Olympia, applauded the Church’s decision, telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“It had to be a most gratifying day for gay and lesbian people, who share a deep and abiding love, in fidelity, for one another. Their journey has been long and many of them may not feel this is all they would like to see, but most present here are surely gratified this day.”

Rev. Debra Peevey, our Director of Faith Outreach at Washington United, celebrated the Episcopal Church’s move to embrace marriage for all loving couples:

“I rejoice with my brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church who voted overwhelmingly to support Holy Covenant blessings to gay and lesbian couples making faithful, lifetime commitments. While this is a historic step forward, let us remember that those blessings do not provide the protection of Civil Marriage. That is why we are praying and working to Approve Referendum 74 which will allow loving, committed same sex couples the responsibilities and protections of Civil Marriage in Washington State.”

Here in Washington, we’re proud that nearly 40 religious and faith organizations have joined our coalition to defend the freedom to marry. You can see the full list of faith organizations here.

We’re confident that as people of faith continue to talk about why marriage matters for gay and lesbian couples, support for approving Referendum 74 in faith communities will only grow between now and Election Day.

 

Posted by Andy Grow | July 12, 2012

The Chamber endorses same-sex marriage

via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Referendum 74, the measure on November’s ballot that would make Washington the nation’s seventh state to legalize civil marriage between same-sex couples.

“There is a clear business case for supporting equal access to civil marriage rights,” said George Allen, the Chamber’s vice president for government relations.

“Marriage equality allows companies to streamline benefit administration, improves our members’ ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and helps our state’s bottom line,” he added.

Specifically, the Chamber said same-sex marriage would “improve recruiting efforts for state businesses, which compete against companies in states like Massachusetts and New York that have extended civil marriage rights to same sex couples.”

Zach Silk, campaign manager for marriage equality, reacted to the Chamber’s backing by saying:  “It’s very important for people to realize that defending the new marriage law and approving Referendum 74 is not only good for all Washington families, it’s good for business, too.”

No state has ever voted for marriage equality, although in 2009 Washington voters ratified Referendum 71, the civil unions legislation that extended almost all benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.

But the 2012 election may change all that.  Washington, Maryland and Maine voters will find marriage equality on their fall ballots.  Polls show the measures leading in Washington and Maine.

In Maryland, same-sex marriage faces powerful opposition from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.  But a recent poll showed increasing support among African-American voters since President Obama came out May 9 in favor of marriage equality.

The Chamber’s position gives Referendum 74 support from business, labor and Democratic groups that frequently find themselves adversaries on other issues.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 12, 2012

Marriage Equality Now a Mainstream Value

via Think Progress:

A series of polls released over the past two months confirms that marriage equality is now a mainstream value. Public opinion polls by GallupABCNBC, and CNN have found support at 50, 53, 54, and 54 percent, respectively. This represents the highest support for marriage equality ever recorded. Historically, a majority of Americans have opposed marriage equality. These polls suggest that the public support has hit a tipping point, as polls over the past two years have shown that a clear majority favors the freedom to marry.

The Center for American Progress released an issue brief this week breaking down the numbers and looking forward to November as voters take to the polls to vote on marriage equality referenda in four states. The brief finds that the strong majority backing for equality is buttressed by strong, stable and increasing support from young voters, independents, and people of color – all crucial demographics in the upcoming elections. In fact, current polling suggests that marriage equality is poised to prevail in the four states with marriage on the ballot this fall.

In early May, President Obama became the first sitting president to endorse marriage equality. Polls since then suggest that his announcement strongly influenced African American voters. An ABC News poll found support among black voters at 59 percent after Obama’s announcement, whereas it hovered at about 40 percent beforehand. In the state of Maryland, support for the freedom to marry among black voters skyrocketed from 39 to 55 percent, a complete reversal from just three months ago. The President’s announcement has clearly made an impact in the African American community, one which could prove decisive at the ballot box.

These polls, however, continue to find a significant generational gap in support for marriage equality. While all age groups favor equality more today than a year ago, 73 percent of voters ages 18-34 back the freedom to marry, whereas only 35 percent of voters above the age of 64 do. With regard to political affiliation, recent polls find that about 60 percent of independents favor marriage equality. Both young voters and independents are potentially key voting blocks, and support for marriage equality among each demographic only continues to rise.

Gay couples eager to be married should be cautiously optimistic about the upcoming battles this November, with marriage equality on the ballot in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington. In those states, polls find support at 555749, and 54 percent, respectively. What’s even more telling is the gap between those who support and those who oppose equality. In Maine, Maryland, and Washington, that gap is a staggering 20 points. Furthermore, advocates for the freedom to marry have leapt over the so-called “enthusiasm gap.” Today the percentage of voters who strongly support marriage equality outnumbers those who strongly oppose equality by 7 points, indicating that staunch opposition to equality for gay couples is losing steam.

Based on these polls, President Obama’s position on marriage equality now falls squarely in line with the majority of the American public, while Republican lawmakers still lag far behind, including the presumptive Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney. There are strong signs that the freedom to marry will become law in at least one state this fall. But regardless of what happens in November, support for marriage equality is trending upward, and will likely continue to do so with growing support among young generations and other key demographics.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 12, 2012

Photo of the Day: July 9, 2012

A little-known perk of volunteering with Washington United for Marriage: sometimes you get the chance to meet really cool people. People like Dan Savage at an event in Seattle.

Are you ready to GET ENGAGED? Click here to get started.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 9, 2012

A Special Thanks from Washington United for Marriage

Today is a big day for the APPROVE Ref. 74 campaign.

This morning, we announced our fundraising totals for the month of June. Thanks to all of you, we were able to raise $952,267.

This is a home-grown, people-powered campaign with 90% of our donations coming from WA State residents. 79% of our donations were less than $100.

We’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time, but we have a long way to go until election day in November. Your continued support is urgently needed to ensure that we remain competitive with the opposition throughout the summer and into the fall.

We had a great month in June. Let’s keep moving forward.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 9, 2012

Tweet of the Day: July 8, 2012

 

Posted by Andy Grow | July 8, 2012

Photo of the Day: July 7, 2012

Volunteers from Ellensburg United Methodist Church engage voters and supporters from their table at a Farmer’s Market in Ellensburg, WA.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 7, 2012

Tweet of the Day: July 4, 2012

Posted by Andy Grow | July 4, 2012

Photo of the Day: July 4, 2012

Today, let’s celebrate American freedom. Tomorrow, join us in the fight to ensure that every Washingtonian has the freedom to marry the person they love.

If you’re ready to GET ENGAGED with the Approve Ref. 74 campaign, click here to get started.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 4, 2012

PNW United Methodists endorse Marriage Equality

PNW United Methodist Conference

From the June 29th press release:

“United Methodists from across Washington and the northern panhandle of Idaho passed legislation supporting SB  6239, known also as the Marriage Equality Act, during their annual conference held June 21-24 at the TRAC Center in the TriCities.

The resolution “encourage(s) all people to approve Referendum 74 so that the Marriage Equality Act can be put into law.”

Read the entire press release

Photo: Patrick Scriven

Posted by Andy Grow | July 3, 2012

Capitol Hill Action Center: Sneak Peak

Today, we’re opening our new Action Center on Capitol Hill (Seattle) at 517 East Pike Street, inside Kaladi Brothers Coffee. Our official grand opening is still a few weeks away, but you can still enjoy this preview:

Need information on how to get involved with the campaign? This table is a great place to get started.

Regional Field Director Maggie Thompson is working hard to fill this space with enthusiastic volunteers.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 3, 2012

Why Marriage Matters: GOP Senator Steve Litzow

The freedom to marry movement is a bi-partisan affair. For our 5th installment in the ‘Why Marriage Matters’ series, we’ve featured Washington State Senator Steve Litzow, a Republican of Mercer Island, WA and a co-sponsor of the historic Senate Bill 6329.

Presenting the conservative case for marriage equality, he says:

If we believe that people can pay taxes and they can vote, and the can start a business, and own a gun, then we should allow them to choose who it is they marry.

If you’re ready to cross the partisan divide and fight for the right of all Washingtonians to marry the person they love – click here to get started.

Posted by Andy Grow | July 3, 2012

#WA4M Snapshot: June 29, 2012

(from left: Sheila Stickel, Deputy Campaign Manager; Amy White, Coordinated Committee Chairperson; Adrian Matanza, Field Director)

The word of the day is: Plaid.

Posted by Andy Grow | June 29, 2012

Rep. Adam Smith introduces parity for same-sex military spouses

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced a bill yesterday that would open the door for gay and lesbian spouses of U.S. military service members to receive the same benefits granted to heterosexual spouses.

From the Tacoma News Tribune:

“Smith’s bill, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012, would redefine the term “spouse” in federal laws governing military benefits as any individual who has entered into a valid marriage.”

“The current definition of spouse, which comes directly from the Defense of Marriage Act, refers to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”

Congressman Smith continued:

“Spouses of service members should not be prevented from receiving the benefits they have earned simply because they are the same sex as their partner,”

Under current law, Same-sex military spouses are often denied spousal benefits such as: medical and dental insurance, housing benefits, and treatment in military medical facilities, among many others.

Read the entire article here:

Adam Smith’s Bill Redefines ‘Spouse’ for Military Service Members

Posted by Andy Grow | June 28, 2012

Why Marriage Matters: Rev. Melvin & Candice Woodworth


This video is the fourth in a series highlighting Washington Families and individuals from all walks of life sharing the importance of marriage to their lives.

Rev. Melvin Woodworth of Tacoma, like many veteran clergymembers didn’t begin his professional ministry with much perspective on gay marriage. However, he notes:

“Our tradition said that God didn’t think it was good for a person to be alone. God wants us to be in relationship with other people…[and] in relationships that have certain qualities– honesty, faithfulness, mutuality, equality…”

In the video, Rev. Woodworth talks about meeting with a gay parishioner early in his work.  “As he talked to me, I realized that he was like every other person who had come to me wanting to get married,” he says. “He had love in his heart, he wanted to share it with the person he had found, and he wanted to shout it from the rooftops.”

Working with gay parishioners and years of deep study of and reflection upon religious scripture led him to his final conclusion:

“I’ve just come to the point where I understand that this is the right thing to do.”

Is your congregation or faith community interested in joining other faith organizations in solidarity with Washington United for Marriage? Click here to get started.

Posted by Andy Grow | June 28, 2012

Why Marriage Matters: Pablo M.


This video is the third in a series highlighting Washington families and individuals from all walks of life sharing the importance of marriage equality to their lives.

Pablo Monroy of Tacoma, WA has had one wish ever since he was a young boy growing up in Pasco:

“…when I was growing up I wanted to get married, settle down, have a family…white picket fence”…“And even after I realized I was gay I still wanted that, with whoever I loved.”

The wish remained true when he joined the U.S. Navy fresh out of high school in 2006. He served a four–year tour in the Navy, where he advanced as an enlisted sailor to the rank of Petty Officer, Second Class.

Unable to serve openly gay, he joined the Service Members United Network upon his retirement from the Navy in 2010.

Today, Pablo is a student at the University of Washington – Tacoma. He was encouraged by the repeal of DADT to become an active member of the Washington State National Guard, and continues his commitment to serve the LGBT military community.

He also gave an elegant and passionate testimony before the Washington State Senate earlier this year in favor of Senate Bill 6239– the bill that legalized same-sex marriage in Washington State.

Pablo and his longtime partner Derrick are engaged to be married on August 11, 2012– a marriage ceremony that will now be categorized as a “commitment ceremony” due to Referendum 74 this November.

Pablo and Derrick will be in Seattle for this weekend’s festivities. Come meet them and show your support for marriage equality at the Seattle PRIDE parade and festival this Sunday.

Posted by Andy Grow | June 22, 2012

Thanks to LGBT bloggers!

It’s only been 8 days since our opponents submitted signatures to put our state’s marriage law on the ballot this November. Already the momentum to Approve Referendum 74 and defend the freedom to marry is incredible– both here in Washington and in the netroots!

When we learned last week that our opponents had gathered sufficient signatures (thanks, in large part, to paid signature gatherers) LGBT bloggers around the country stepped up to the plate to help equip our campaign with the resources we need to turn out voters and win this November.

In just 24 hours, our blogger friends helped raise over $4,200 for Washington United for Marriage– money that will go instantly to funding our efforts to talk to more Washingtonians about why marriage matters for same-sex couples.

We’re incredibly grateful to bloggers at GoodAsYou, Towleroad, JoeMyGod, The New Civil Rights Movement, and David Mixner for their commitment to helping us pass Referendum 74. With the help of such incredible allies and the dedication of our volunteers and supporters around the state, we’re on track to ensure that all loving couples in Washington can marry in the state we call home.

Posted by Andy Grow | June 14, 2012

June is Pride month!

The month of June is usually pretty calm for Washington state campaigns, but for Washington United for Marriage, it’s going to be HUGE!  We’ll be at Pride events all over the state, recruiting volunteers, raising money, and generally letting everyone know: it’s time; let’s get engaged!  

Of course, Pride weekend in Seattle on June 23-24 will be the largest celebration in the state.  We’ll have a big presence at Saturday’s festivities on Capitol Hill.  Then for Sunday’s Parade we’ll have hundreds of volunteers from the GLBT community, organized labor, faith organizations, businesses, and communities of color all walking United, for Marriage.  We’ll be sharing more with you in the weeks ahead, but for now, go to the Pride RSVP page and sign up to help for the Pride near you. It’s going to be huge I tell ya! HUGE! 

Posted by Andy Grow | June 5, 2012

It’s time to Get Engaged!!

The June 9 Get Engaged to Defend Marriage Equality Gala is this Saturday night! Equal Rights Washington, one of the WUM coalition’s founding members, is turning their annual gala into a huge fundraising event for the marriage equality campaign. This is the big campaign kick-off fundraiser. The event – we dare say – of the season.  Hundreds of your friends will be there to show their support for marriage equality, and have a great time while they’re at it.

You should be there too. The Gala starts at 6 pm on the 9th, at the Washington State Convention Center.  Tickets are $174 each (that’s 74, as in Referendum 74) and tables of ten are $1,174. Here’s where you can sign up: https://washingtonunited.fastercampaigns.com/gala  See you there!

Posted by Andy Grow | June 5, 2012

Welcome!

Welcome to the Washington United for Marriage blog! (Catchy name, huh?)

This is the place for campaign staff and occasional guest bloggers to post all sorts of things: campaign updates, reaction to news events both large and small, volunteer opportunities, field reports from across the state; and, as reads the last line of every campaign job description:  “other duties as assigned.”  Each post will have social networking buttons at the bottom right, and I encourage you to share a post whenever you like.

One important role for the blog is to share your photos and videos from campaign events. Send your pics and videos, or links to them online, to andy@washingtonunited.org

Thanks, everyone. Now, let’s go win! 

Posted by Andy Grow | June 1, 2012

Downtown Seattle Association Supports Same-Sex Marriage Law

The Downtown Seattle Association’s board of directors has voted to support marriage equality in Washington state, becoming one of the largest business membership organizations to take a public stance on the pending ballot measure.

In 2009, DSA also encouraged support for a domestic partnership law in the form of Referendum 71, and the rationale for supporting Referendum 74 (marriage equality) is the same:

— Marriage equality is a human rights issue

— Marriage equality is an economic competitiveness issue for Seattle and Downtown

— Rejecting marriage equality would damage Seattle’s ability to attract knowledge workers

Major area employers (and DSA members) are already onboard.  Companies such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, Macy’s, Apple, Google, Home Depot and Nike all support marriage equality in Washington state.

“The DSA champions a healthy vibrant urban core, and being able to attract the best companies and workers is critical to remaining competitive.” says DSA President & CEO Kate Joncas.

Marriage Equality is an important civil rights issue, and it is an important economic issue, because studies show that knowledge workers, creative workers and young workers prefer communities that are diverse, open and tolerant. DSA believes that supporting Marriage Equality is the right thing to do and important to our economic future”

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows more than half of Americans now support same-sex marriage, a 53-39 percent margin in favor of marriage equality.

There is currently a petition drive to put this law on the ballot for a statewide vote in November.

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Posted by Andy Grow | May 27, 2012