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Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire endorses marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples

News release from Human Rights Campaign:

Washington United for Marriage Applauds Gov. Gregoire for Historic Support of Marriage Equality

Governor endorses legislative action this year; will include bill in her legislative package

OLYMPIA, WA – Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that will work to obtain civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State in 2012, today applauded Gov. Christine Gregoire for her landmark comments and endorsement of marriage equality in the Evergreen State.

“Governor Gregoire made crystal clear why marriage equality matters and why the legislature should pass it this year,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage.  “She has shown tremendous leadership on this issue which affects so many of our friends, family and neighbors.”

During her remarks, Gregoire clearly made the case of why marriage matters and the impact of having separate classifications of relationship recognition for lesbian and gay couples.  Thousands of families in Washington State will be impacted by the legislation, which would allow for civil marriage of lesbian and gay couples.  Currently, these couples may register for a domestic partnership which confers most of the rights and responsibilities of marriage, but does not recognize the love, commitment and devotion to family that marriage conveys.

"My partner and I have been together 22 years, and our family is very similar to those of my friends and colleagues," said Jennifer Cast, a longtime Washington resident who wishes to marry.  "We work hard to create a productive and happy life for ourselves and our family.   We cherish the good times and console each other during hard times.  We share each other's challenges, sorrows, triumphs, and joys, just like any other couple.  We want our love and commitment to be valued and recognized equally in our state."

“When I tell people that Rudy and I have a domestic partnership, they really don’t understand what that means,” said John McCluskey, a longtime resident of Tacoma.  “We’ve been together for 53 years and I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.  The thought that people don’t understand that our family faces the same struggles and the same triumphs as any other family in our state is heartbreaking.”

At this time, six states plus the District of Columbia recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.  Nine states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.  Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.

Washington United for Marriage is a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and business associations working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples. To find more information and learn how you can help, visit WashingtonUnitedForMarriage.org. Engage with Washington United for Marriage on social media at Twitter.com/WA4Marriage and atFacebook.com/WashingtonUnited.


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