Election night victories include marriage in Washington

Supporters cheer at an election watch party for proponents of Referendum 74, which would uphold the state’s new same-sex marriage law, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Not only did our neighbors to the north, Washington State, pass an historic measure allowing same sex marriage, it was among the first states to do so by vote rather than the court system or legislature.

Freedom to Marry, a national organization promoting marriage equality, is just one of the many supporters celebrating this week. Director of Organizing, Thomas Wheatley, who has served as a key adviser for Washington United for Marriage, the coalition working to approve Referendum 74, said of the win:

 This victory is a joyous step forward for millions of gay and lesbian people in Washington and around the country who have dreamt of someday being able to marry the person they love. Washingtonians know that marriage means something important and special to all couples, their families, and their friends – including gay couples and their loved ones. Washington’s campaign mobilized unprecedented support from businesses, faith leaders, and young voters, demonstrating that the freedom to marry matters to all people and setting a powerful example as we continue to work to win marriage nationwide.

Newlyweds-to-be can now begin planning their weddings, with marriages tentatively scheduled to begin December 6th. Maine and Maryland also passed laws for civil marriage rights at the ballot with their marriages going into effect no later than December 16 in Maine, and on January 2, 2013 in Maryland. This election brings the total number of states that allow gay marriage to nine, in addition to the three states that recognize marriages between two men or two women performed outside state lines.

At the same time, Minnesota voters rejected a ballot measure that would have enshrined an anti-gay marriage law in their constitution, and neighboring Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin as the country’s first openly gay U.S. senator.

Closer to home, Tina Kotek aims to be the first out lesbian as Speaker of the House on the state level. Formerly a 30-30 split Tuesday’s elections gave Democrats control of the Oregon House and Kotek, who represents NE Portland, is a likely choice. Kotek said she will ask the Democratic caucus to support her bid to be the speaker nominee. She says the next speaker will be chosen by the Legislature in January.

Alley Hector

About Alley Hector

Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.

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