Posts tagged: same-sex marriage
Spokane County officials issued 23 marriage licenses to same-sex couples Thursday on the first day that became legal in Washington state.
That was, not surprisingly, the most of any Eastern Washington county, but fairly low compared to the urban counties along the Puget Sound.
King County, which opened at 12:01 a.m. and planned to keep open until 8 p.m.,had issued 456 licenses as of 4:30 p.m., but it wasn't breaking them out by same-sex or opposite sex applications.
Thurston County, which also opened at 12:01 a.m. to issue licenses to 10 couples chosen by lot, had issued 34 to same-sex couples throughout the day. Pierce County issued 42, Island 25, Kitsap 23, Whatcom 22 and Snohomish 20.
Except for Spokane, no East Side County broke out of single digits and some — Adams, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield and Stevens — didn't have any requests.
Gov. Gregoire signs election results with Secretary of State Reed.
OLYMPIA — Washington state took the last step Wednesday in changing its laws to allow same-sex couples to marry.
With about two dozen supporters looking on, Gov. Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed signed documents certifying vote results certifying that Referendum 74 passedin the Nov. 6 election.
Certifying results one month after the election is usually a pro forma event. The results for the other statewide elections and ballot measures — including those that reiterate supermajorities to raise state taxes, allow for charter schools and legalize marijuana use for adults — were signed earlier in Gregoire's office.
But the governor invited supporters of Ref. 74 to her conference room to mark the occasion, and to brag that Washington will be the first of the three states that approved same-sex marriage in the election to issue marriage licenses.
“This is our last step for marriage equality in the great state of Washington,” said Gregoire, who used a different pen for each letter of her name, and distributed the pens among the same-sex couples who gathered for the ceremony.
Reed commended supporters and opponents of the referendum for a civil campaign over a tough issue.
The law takes effect on Thursday. King and Thurston counties are opening their auditors offices just after midnight to issue marriage licenses, and Pierce County will open at 6:30 a.m.
Spokane County will open its auditor's office at the regular time, 8:30 a.m. It will stay open late on Friday, until 4 p.m.
Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington state apparently have something to hold over those other states that approved a similar law change at the ballot box last month.
Not only did Washington have a bigger margin of victory than Maine and Maryland, says Andy Grow of Washington United for Marriage, it also gets the jump on having the law take effect and couples saying “I do.”
The Nov. 6 election results will be certified this afternoon, and they will show the Ref. 74 winning with 53.7 percent of the vote. It was 52.6 percent in Maine and 52.4 percent in Maryland.
The law will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. King and Thurston counties seem to be competing for the attention of accepting applications at that time. Spokane County's auditor's office is opening at the usual 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning… although it is staying open until 4 p.m. on Friday to handle any extra traffic for folks wanting to get married early next week. Apparently 12/12/12 is a popular date for weddings, possibly for men who forget things like birthdays and anniversaries.
Anyone who gets a license on Thursday in Washington can get married as early as Sunday. Maine's law becomes effective Dec. 29, and licenses can be issued that day. Applications in Maryland could be filed last week, and can be issued Thursday, but weddings can't take place until Jan. 1.
OLYMPIA – Republican Rob McKenna’s campaign insisted he would overtake Democrat Jay Inslee “next week or the week after” as ballot counting continued in Washington’s close gubernatorial race.
But while the percentages improved slightly for Attorney General McKenna, the gap in their vote totals remained about the same – 50,000 more votes for Inslee, the former congressman.
Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.
OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.
The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.
On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail. A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.
Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.
“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.
Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.
“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.
Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.
Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.
Opponents say they aren't conceding.
Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had “some of the best minds available” analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.
That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.
There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as “cautiously optimistic” but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.
Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. “Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory,” Chip said.
So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? “We will issue another statement,” Grow said. “But we don't think that's going to happen.”
For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.
Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, is slightly ahead statewide, but trails in Spokane County
For the statewide map, click here
For a closer look at the Spokane vote, click on the PDF document below
Another example of Washington state politicians getting ink elsewhere: Huffington Post looks at state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, noting her stance in support of gay rights and same-sex marriage.
Spin Control readers with good memories might recall a post with a video of her floor speech during the House debate over the bill behind what became Referendum 74.
The campaign to pass same-sex marriage in Washington state got a contribution Wednesday that is far from it's biggest, but may be from one of its most celebrated donors: Actor Brad Pitt.
And you thought he was busy making perfume commercials.
Pitt recently gave $100,000 to the Washington, D.C., based Human Rights Campaign, which divided that among the four states where same-sex marriage campaigns are being waged: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
It's like one of those public radio pledge drive match arrangements. Pitt is promising to match contributions from other donors. HRC says he sent this message by e-mail: “If you're like me, you don't want to have to ask yourself on the day after the election, what else could I have done?”
With just two weeks left for voters to return their general election ballots, large amounts of money are flowing into some Washington campaigns for top offices and measures that propose major changes to state law.
The state Democratic Party reported a $350,000 contribution Monday to its gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee, who a local poll suggests is tied with Republican Rob McKenna, and campaign disclosure records show is running behind in the money race. . .
A poll of 500 Washington voters conducted by 360 Strategies said McKenna and Inslee are each supported by 46 percent of those surveyed through the weekend. McKenna has raised about $12.1 million and Inslee about $10.6 milllion, although the Democratic former congressman’s totals don’t yet include Monday’s contribution from the state party, or a $93,000 contribution last week.
At this point in the campaign, state law requires candidates and donors to report any contribution of more than $1,000 as a “last-minute contribution” on a special form. To see the latest update of the PDC last-minute contribution list, click here.
To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog
The National Organization for Marriage, which is opposing the ballot measure which would let Washington recognize same-sex marriage, posted a video on its blog that suggests President Obama was hiding his support for such unions for several months.
It's a clip of Gov. Chris Gregoire telling a group that when Obama visited Washington state in February right after she'd signed the bill that's behind Referendum 74, the president whispered in her ear to thank her for that and said “history will be on our side.”
Note the use of the first person plural.
It wasn't until May that Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, saying up until then only that his position was “evolving.” Gregoire's remarks suggest the evolution was complete months before, NOM contends, wondering if other politicians also were receiving “secret support” from the president to change marriage laws.
So where does this video come from?
Read the rest of this item inside the blog.
OLYMPIA — T-Mobile dialed in support of the ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state.
The cellphone service is giving $25,000 to the main campaign to pass Referendum 74, Washington United for Marriage.
The company said in a press release it was part of “a long-standing focus on creating an inclusive workplace environment for our employees.”
It's a big donation, but not among the top 10 for the yes campaign, which has about $5.8 million with the T-Mobile money added in.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the primary no campaign, has slightly under $440,000.
Spokane’s Catholic bishop is urging members of his diocese to vote against the same-sex marriage law that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
In a letter to parishioners available at weekend services, The Rev. Blase Cupich contends that if Referendum 74 passes, it will redefine marriage and create “a major shift in an institution that serves as the foundation stone of society.” He called same-sex marriage a passionate issue, and called for respectful debate that would “generate light rather than heat.”
Zach Silk, campaign manager for the pro-referendum group Washington United for Marriage, said Cupich’s letter comes as no surprise, because the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops has a long-standing opposition to same-sex marriage. Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartrain urged Catholics in that archdiocese to sign the petitions to put Ref. 74 on the ballot, Silk noted.
But lay Catholics don’t necessarily agree with their clergy on the issue, he said. . .
To read the rest of this item, go inside the blog.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to ratify same-sex marriage in Washington state received $2.5 million from the founder of Amazon.com, the campaign announced today.
Washington United for Marriage, which is pushing Referendum 74 on the Nov. 6 ballot, announced the contribution from Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos this morning. A spokesman said it was the largest single donation to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.
It also more than doubles the campaign's total contributions, to about $4.8 million and shows continuing support from the state's high-tech executives. The campaign has also received contributions of $100,000 each from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot and is urging a no vote to block same sex-marriage, has reported about $250,000 in contributions.
The Washington Legislature passed a bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples early this year and it was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had announced her support for the change before the session started. But opponents quickly filed a referendum and gathered the needed signatures, placing the law on hold.
Six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — as well as Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage, but no state has approved it through a ballot measure. Washington, Maryland and Maine have same-sex marriage proposals on statewide ballots this fall.
OLYMPIA — State officials doing the check on petitions submitted for the same-sex marriage referendum say they found what they suspect are about 1,000 forged signatures. . .
Kittanya Locken and Marly Gilbert share a kiss in front of the anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church.
OLYMPIA — A half dozen members of the virulently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church drew about 200 counter demonstrators to a protest at the entrance to the state Capitol Campus this afternoon.
The Kansas congregation said on its website it was “picketing the legalization of fag marriage” in the state Wednesday and Thursday. They apparently didn't get the memo that the law is on hold, at least until December, because Preserve Marriage Washington filed more than 225,000 signatures on referendum petitions to put the law on the ballot.
Since Preserve Marriage Washington only needed about 121,000 valid signatures, there's almost no chance that the law won't be before voters in November. The secretary of state's office will go through a streamlined process to check signatures next week.
While the Westboro group sang, waved their signs and, for part of the protest stood on an American flag one protester had dropped on the ground, the counter demonstrators jeered, shouted and waved signs spoofing the standard Westboro “God hates Fags” signs.
“God hates figs,” said one. “Eggs hate Nogg,” said another.
Other counter demonstrators blew bubbles, waved flags or served pieces of a cake decorated with a rainbow.
Washington State troopers kept the two groups separate. But Kittanya Locken and Marly Gilbert, a lesbian couple who live in Olympia, made their way to the front of the counter demonstrators to share a kiss in front of the Westboro group.
Locken said they learned about the protest on Facebook, and decided they had to come to protest the protesters. “It's our home and our duty to support our friends.”
Austin Hedrick, a high school senior from Tumwater, said he came hoping to talk to the Westboro protesters, but the crowd made that unlikely. Hedrick was carrying his Bible and said he plans to attend a seminary in the fall. He wanted to tell the protesters they were wrong about their interpretation of the Scripture.
“The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, but it doesn't say to hate homosexuals,” Hedrick said.
Katrina Akins of Olympia, who was blowing bubbles in the back of the crowd, said she'd recently seen a movie about the Westboro Church, and wanted to see them in person. “They're about what I expected,” she said.
Why bubbles? They're fun, they make rainbows…and the bubble blower was cheap at the dollar store, she said.
After an hour, the Westboro protesters packed up and left, and the counter demonstrators slowly dispersed.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of a referendum to overturn the state's same-sex marriage law will turn in some 200,000 signatures on Wednesday morning.
The secretary of state's office said Preserve Marriage Washington is scheduled to turn in signatures at 10 a.m., and the group's website says it has more than 200,000 signatures, which is approaching twice the 120,000 needed to qualify for the November ballot.
State officials recommend petition circulators file at least 150,000 signatures to account for the expected rejection rate of about 18 percent. But Referendum 74 supporters are far beyond that, according to their website.
The state will begin checking a sample of the petitions early next week, and should have it certified by midweek.
Meanwhile, Washington United for Marriage, supporters of the law and opponents of Ref. 74, said they are beginning a phone campaign tonight to ask voters to vote yes on the ballot measure to retain the law.
SEATTLE — Barack Obama acknowledged he hasn't been a perfect president as he asked some , supporters to help him win another term and ask themselves a different question than the tradition standard an incument faces of “are you better off than you were four years ago?”
The question he wants to frame the election: “Will we be better off if we keep moving forward?”
In a half-hour speech regularly interrupted by the partisan audience, Obama sought to paint Republicans as the group that wants to go back to policies that didn't work in the last decade and Democrats as the party trying to move forward.
Some of the loudest cheers came whenever he mentioned something involving gay rights, and he worked that theme into many areas of the speech just a day after he said he personally supports the rights of same-sex couples to marry, although the issue should be decided by each state.
“If you're willing to work hard, you should be able to find a job…give your kids a chance to do better…no matter what your last name is, where you come from… no matter who you love,” he said.
McClain, left, and Brotski outside the Paramount Theater.
SEATTLE — President Obama's supporters are lining up outside the Paramount Theater and filling the blocked off street in advance of his second fund-raiser of the day in this city.
Obama arrived shortly before noon at Boeing Field, where he was greeted by Gov. Chris Gregoire, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee and other local Democrats, a pool report said. The motorcade then took Obama to a home overlooking Lake Washington, where about 70 people were gathered for a $17,900 per ticket meet and greet.
Outside the estate, a small child had a sign that thanked Obama for “standing up for my mommies,” the pool report said.
Downtown near the Paramount were also fans of Obama's announcement Wednesday that he personally supports same-sex marriage.
Mary Beth Brotski and Teri McClain wore a pair of sandwich signs, which read on the front “Thanks for Evolving on Same Sex Marriage” and had a picture of a chimpanzee on one side and Obama on the other.
McClain, who said she tries to attend every Obama appearance in the Seattle area, said she created the signs this morning. The response was mostly positive, although one person did criticize her choice of picturing Obama and a chimp.
“I didn't have time to draw the whole evolutionary chart,” said McClain.
Neither were surprised by his announcement. “I think it was inevitable,” Brotski said.
“It's time,” McClain said. “He's all about change.
OLYMPIA — In a state that recently went through a legislative battle over same-sex marriage and faces a potential ballot fight over the issue, President Barack Obama's comments supporting gay marriage drew quick response.
He'll likely hear some of it in person Thursday, when he stops by for a pair of re-election campaign fundraisers.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who offered similar reasoning late last year for her switch in support of gay marriage, praised Obama for a “courageous and heartfelt act.”
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, an openly gay legislator and sponsor of the bill that could ultimately allow Washington state to recognize same-sex marriages, thanked Obama for “his courage in taking a strong position in support of equality for all Americans.”
But the National Organization for Marriage, a national group helping to gather signatures to place Washington's same-sex marriage law on the ballot and calling for a boycott of Starbuck's for its support of the legislation, predicted Obama's comments would cost him re-election. Although Obama said he personallly supports gay marriage but believes states should decide the issue, “that is completely disingenuous,” NOM President Brian Brown said.
In an interview with ABC, Obama said he had hoped that civil unions for same-sex couples would be enough, but that hasn't proved true. He also mentioned that his daughters have friends whose parents are same-sex couples and whom they wouldn't expect to be treated differently, and that helped prompt his change in thinking.
Within hours, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, as chairwoman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, sent out an e-mail to party supporters, asking them to sign an on-line petition to “stand with President Obama in support of marriage equality.”
That closely parallels Gregoire's comments in December, when she called for the change in state law and said her opinion had also evolved from supporting civil unions to marriage for same-sex couples. At that time, she mentioned the her views had evolved from talking with her daughters, whose generation is much more accepting of same-sex unions, and that children who are being raised by two parents of the same sex deserve to have their families recognized the same way as their classmates in more traditional families.
Gregoire and Obama may have a chance to discuss the issue Thursday. The president will make a campaign stop in Seattle, with a fundraiser at the Paramont Theater in downtown; Gregoire will be there, her office said.
The comments could also cause a ripple into the governor's race, which could share the ballot with a referendum seeking to block the same-sex marriage law that is on the books but currently on hold. The leading Democratic candidate, former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, has said he supports the new law. The leading Republican candidate, Attorney General Rob McKenna, has said he supports civil unions but not marriage for same-sex couples, adding his stance on the issue was essentially the same as Obama's. Until today, that description was accurate, but it is now obsolete.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are gathering signatures on Referendum 74, which would give voters the final say on whether the law takes effect. A representative of Preserve Marriage Washington, the main sponsor of the referendum, told the Associated Press Wednesday they had about 70,000 of the more than 120,000 signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot.