Advocates for Marriage Equality Make Powerful Case in Olympia
January 23, 2012 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
Today, the Washington State House and Senate committees considering marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples heard testimony for and against the proposed legislation. Advocates provided a powerful argument why now is the time for the Evergreen State to join a growing list of jurisdictions in the country and around the world in bestowing equal dignity and respect to all its people.
Lacey All, HRC Foundation and National Board of Directors from Seattle, as well as the Chair for Washington United for Marriage, had this to say about the proceedings:
"Washington United and the Human Rights Campaign thank the respective senate and house committees for taking a bold step towards equality today. Marriage is about respect, dignity, love and commitment which is exactly what you heard from our testifiers. As families across the state struggle to hold and find jobs, and to keep their families warm and safe, we can take this action to make sure that all families are protected and included in our united social and economic fabrics of society."
Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer, an outspoken veteran and advocate for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and her partner Divelbesse of Whidbey Island added this:
"We can’t believe this day has finally arrived. We have always considered ourselves to be spouses, and have strived to raise our family just as any other family would do, but now the efforts we’ve made and the love we share can finally be recognized as equal under the eyes of the law and to our family, friends and neighbors. We never thought this could happen in our lifetimes, and now hope abounds that we could finally see and experience true equality as a family."
The Senate Committee on Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections met at 10:00 a.m. to consider the legislation, while the House Committee on the Judiciary followed at 1:30 p.m. Committee votes could be held within days or weeks. The house has 50 sponsors of the bill, enough to comfortably pass the legislation, while the senate has 23 sponsors and 24 public yes votes with six senators still uncommitted.
State Sen. Ed Murray, a sponsor of the legislation had this to say about the day’s events:
"I’m proud of the steps the Senate and House committees took today to advance marriage equality in Washington. Momentum continues to grow and we’re seeing blossoming support from people of every walk of life. Now is the time for our state and our people to recognize that treating all Washingtonians equally is not only the right thing to do, but it’s the Washington way."