Today a majority of Washington voters approved Referendum 74, upholding the freedom to marry law passed by the Legislature with bipartisan support and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire earlier this year. Washington officials will begin issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples in early December.
“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,” said Thomas Wheatley, director of organizing for Freedom to Marry and a key campaign adviser to Washington United for Marriage. “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.”
Washington United for Marriage raised more than $12 million from 27,000 individual donors for the ballot campaign and built a coalition of 864 organizations, congregations and small businesses. In addition, a who’s who of Washington’s leading corporations – including Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, Alaska Airlines, and more – have endorsed the freedom to marry. Dozens of organizers, along with 5,700 volunteers, facilitated more than 160,000 one-on-one conversations about why marriage matters.
Freedom to Marry invested more than $1.2 million directly and helped raise another $940,000 for the marriage efforts in Washington. In addition, Freedom to Marry played a key leadership role on the campaign, providing strategic guidance throughout, as well as support on messaging, paid media, direct mail, and online strategy. Beyond the campaign, Freedom to Marry’s Why Marriage Matters Washington public education program helped build support for ending the denial of marriage to loving and committed couples.
“Freedom to Marry stepped right in and exerted leadership to help build one of the most powerful ballot campaigns our state has ever known,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager of Washington United for Marriage. “Not only was Freedom to Marry the largest out-of-state cash investor, it also provided messaging and new media expertise, as well as endless staff time and resources. We’re grateful to share today’s victory with Freedom to Marry.”
In 2011-2012, Freedom to Marry invested $4.6 million into the four ballot states – Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington – and helped raise another $2.4 million to support public education in the four states, for a total of $7 million this cycle.