Election Day is right around the corner. The ballots have been mailed. For those who've worked so tirelessly to make sure gay and lesbian couples in Washington enjoy the same civil rights as straight couples, time is getting short. Which way voters lean on Referendum 74 will have a major impact on the lives of so many people in our state.
When it comes to the fight for marriage equality, Seattle's state Sen. Ed Murray has been at the forefront. He was the sponsor of Washington's marriage equality law, and has spent 17 years working to make sure gay and lesbian couples get the marriage rights they deserve.
For this week's installment of "From the Horse's Mouth" we threw three questions at Murray about R74 and what this vote means.
Seattle Weekly: You have said in the past you expected the referendum battle for marriage equality to be a tough and ugly. As we close in on Election Day, has this battle been what you expected it to be?
Sen. Ed Murray: It is actually too soon to give you a complete answer, if you consider the opposition's tactics in California. The pro-marriage equality side was 11 points ahead and lost by eight points after the opposition put millions of dollars into the campaign in the last two weeks.
Opponents of marriage equality have gone to great lengths to prevent R74 from passing. Of course, so many have worked tirelessly to provide marriage equality for all. What has been the most disheartening aspect of the R74 battle, and what has been the most heartwarming?
The most disheartening aspect has been the opposition's negative portrayal of lesbian and gay couples with children. In the end, they frighten children who love their two moms or their two dads. The most heartwarming aspect? Well there have been so many. The wonderful people who put together Washington Untied for Marriage (particularly Zach Sick the campaign, manager, Lacey All, the campaign chair, and Jen Cast who heads up the fundraising effort). The wonderful volunteers - gay and straight - who are giving so much of their time to this effort. The young people who believe so strongly that this is the civil rights issue of their generation.
At this point, what's at stake with the R 74 vote? Obviously, the law itself - but how big of a setback will it be if R 74 doesn't pass?
What is at stake is the future of the State of Washington; are we going to be a place where all citizens enjoy the same freedoms, a place where all families are treated the same? Losing would be a setback, but the generational change taking place ensures marriage equality will be a reality, if not this year, then in a few short years.
EXTRA CREDIT: Prediction time -- will R 74 pass?
It will pass, but it will be close.