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Marriage Equality: Taking the lead

Washington United for Marriage says now is the time to make history

Washington United for Marriage: There’s strong support for equality.

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LGBT leaders and allies all over Washington are launching a new campaign for marriage equality called Washington United for Marriage. The campaign's goal is to pass a marriage equality bill in the Washington State Legislature and for it to be signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. To reach this goal the campaign will work to gain the support of local community members, elected officials and local media.

"This coalition of families, unions, business owners is about getting a bill passed out of the legislature and signed by the governor," says local activist Justin Leighton, who explains that the biggest challenge for the bill will be getting it passed in the senate. "We need folks to talk to their state legislators to tell them they support marriage and so should they."

The Pierce County arm of Washington United for Marriage is already off and running - holding town hall meetings all over the county to rally support for the cause. While many in Tacoma have long been actively committed to marriage equality, Washington United for Marriage Pierce County is determined to engage the entire county.

"It is easy to hold a meeting about marriage equality in cities like Tacoma and Seattle - those very urban, LGBT friendly areas," explains Leighton. "But when you hold a meeting about this topic in Puyallup, Lakewood or Gig Harbor then you're a true trailblazer."

Washington United for Marriage is led at the statewide level by a large coalition of progressive civil rights organizations, including Equal Rights Washington and the Human Rights Campaign. The state coalition provides the county leadership teams with general direction and the counties implement plans as they believe best fit their communities.

The first course of action for the campaign in Pierce County has been to organize a series of town hall meetings all over the county. Recent meetings in Tacoma and Puyallup drew more than 50 attendees, and a meeting in Lakewood drew a crowd of more than 30.  

A meeting in Tacoma on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at First United Methodist Church was led by State Representative Laurie Jinkins and Tacoma City Council member Ryan Mello. The two leaders, along with guest speakers Pastor Melvin Woodworth and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, encouraged attendees to participate in the campaign by engaging their community members and legislators in Pierce County, and urging friends and family in other parts of Washington to do the same.

"We are on the cusp of making history. For the first time in Washington state the majority of voters say they actually support civil marriage," Jinkins told the crowd, citing a recent poll by the University of Washington Center for Survey Research. "We can only (make history) if we are able to show legislatures that there is grass roots support here in the state."  

To learn more about the state campaign visit:

To learn more about the efforts in Pierce County visit:

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Comments for "Marriage Equality: Taking the lead" (3)

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kimme said on Nov. 23, 2011 at 1:16pm

I love that this is happening in my home town!

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kelly kafir said on Nov. 28, 2011 at 11:57am

I DO NOT love that this is happening in my home town!!! We gave them everything but marriage and they just want more and more and more. Soon, they will be teaching our children about fisting and felching and other disgusting perverted acts as well as there is a third gender... oh wait - THEY ALREADY DO!!! And then, when those of us do not agree with them, what next? Persecuting people for talking about how perverse this is? How about jailing pastors for speaking out on the subject? Now the brownshirts will not be brown but rainbow!

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Justin D. Leighton said on Nov. 28, 2011 at 1:48pm


You don't think straight people do all those crazy things you mentioned? In fact only 10% (estimated) of the population is LGBT, the other 90% is straight. We are not worried about their crazy acts happening which is clearly at much higher frequency. BTW you sure know those names well, just saying.

On a side note, you didn't give me or my fellow LGBT citizens everything but marriage and its apparent you didn't vote for Ref 71 but guess what? 54% of Washington citizens gave that right to us.

The great thing about civil rights, is no matter how long the NO hold out, the No always looses in the end. You can fight but no matter what you will not win on this.

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