Can I get a hell yeah?
Voters approved Referendum 74 and legalized same-sex marriage, election results made clear Wednesday afternoon.
Thank you to the voters. Washington joins eight other states that allow gay couples to marry.
Thank you to the state leaders: state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, whose patient, incremental approach made this possible, to Gov. Chris Gregoire for proposing it to the state Legislature this year, and to the state Legislators who voted yes.
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Thank you to this editorial board, who has supported same-sex marriage since 2000, long before I joined.
But most of all, thank you to the gay friends throughout my life who educated me about the discrimination they faced, the fear they live with and the joy of being who they were meant to be.
My college friend James Dean — yes, that’s his real name — was the first out and proud gay person I knew. We met the summer before I started college. Four days later he gave me a fashion upgrade out of his closet and took me to a gay club in West Hollywood. He later became a sociology professor, but we spent hours in college talking about marginalization and institutionalized discrimination.
My cousin Didier Kan brought his boyfriend to my 19th birthday dinner while my aunt and uncle pretended he was a friend.
The many others who came out years after we became friends: You showed me how inhospitable the world is to gays and lesbians.
My college friend Nancy Kim, who is bisexual: When I complained about a college newspaper story I felt was offensive to gay students, she said, “Well why don’t you say something about it?” Message received. It was not just offensive to gay students, it was offensive to all students, and it’s incumbent on straight students to complain.
That’s how Referendum 74 passed. We realized that not allowing gay couples to get married was offensive to everyone. The people who supported this are straight, male, old, young, female, male, white, black, Latino, Asian American, married, single. See 300 of them in photos shared with us during our editorial board’s ‘I do’ social-media campaign to approve Ref. 74.
The passage of Referendum 74 will not end the discrimination that lesbian, gay and bisexual people still face, just as discrimination remains a reality for people of color decades after the legalization of interracial marriage. But I’m going to revel in this moment anyway.
And check out this interactive map from the Associated Press on same-sex marriage laws across the country.