Washington United for Marriage: Historic Statewide Faith Support for R74, Final Sunday Faith Ballot Walk to Culminate Broad Effort

With 115 endorsing congregations, more than 450 supportive faith leaders and organizations, and 1,000 Catholics who signed onto full-page ads in favor of Referendum 74 that would affirm the state’s bipartisan marriage law, Washington United for Marriage (WUM) announced a final Seattle faith walk to demonstrate the breadth and depth of its faith base.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 200 people of faith will begin a Faith Ballot Drop Walk at Central Lutheran Church and march to the King County Administration Building where many will drop their ballots to approve R74. The walk is currently scheduled to begin at 1:30 PM.

Among the highlights of an historic outpouring of faith support for the freedom to marry over the course of the campaign are the following:

—  The highly organized and responsive group Catholics for Marriage Equality in Washington (catholicsformarriageequalitywa.org), which has been vocal in their support for “strong families and a better future for all God’s children.” This entirely volunteer-driven organization has been the voice of thousands of Catholics who were dismayed when the WA Catholic bishops made it clear they would work to reject R74 in November. The group was responsible for the full page ads that appeared in the state’s leading newspapers showcasing 1,000 Catholics visibly demonstrating their support for R74.

—  Nearly 400 faith-related events, with supportive clergy and parishioners including faith forums, luncheons, faith leader meetings, trainings and faith-sponsored phone banks. In addition, Sunday evenings became the night many faith communities sent volunteers to bolster ongoing WUM phone banks statewide.

—  Several faith concerts, including a Gospel Concert for Marriage Equality that brought in several choirs and was attended by more than 500 people.

“The outpouring of support from the faith community has been incredible, delivering hundreds of volunteer hours but more importantly, making clear that people of faith support the freedom to marry,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.

“Catholics for Marriage Equality WA feels privileged to have been able to work to support the Approval of R74,” said steering committee member Barbara Guzzo. “From the beginning, we knew, as faithful Catholics, that we were called to stand on the side of the Gospel values of love, family, fairness, and inclusiveness—values that call us to support marriage equality for all Washington citizens.”

“In my 11 years as bishop, I have seen people of faith become more supportive of marriage equality,” said The Rev. Wm. Chris Boerger, Bishop of the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA. “In part, this has come from the realization that gay and lesbian members of our congregations need to enjoy all the rights and privileges of society. It also comes from the understanding that a healthy marriage is the result of faithful commitments being lived out each day.”

“United Methodists affirm that all persons are of sacred worth,” said Rev. Dr. Melvin R. Woodworth of the First United Methodist Church of Tacoma. “I am excited that within days the voters of Washington State will vote to pass Referendum 74, thereby confirming access to marriage for same-sex couples.”