It's a big night for Seattle's Ed Murray and supporters of equality throughout the state.
The moment was a long time coming from the civil rights-driven machine powering the effort to approve Referendum 74 - and Washington's strenuous strides toward marriage equality. Gathered at the Westin in downtown Seattle, volunteers with Washington United for Marriage - the organization that did most of the campaign's heavy lifting - waited anxiously for the numbers to trickle in, indicating whether Washingtonians would put their support behind same-sex marriage.
While the earliest of numbers had the referendum down, as of 10:25 p.m., with 1,853,810 votes counted, R74 was where it deserved to be - trending toward passage, with 51.79 percent voting to approve marriage equality, and 48.21 percent on the wrong side of history.
"We feel very good and we are cautiously optimistic," says Washington United for Marriage campaign manager Zach Silk in a press release distributed to the media. "We're at 65% in early King County returns and we're out performing in Eastern Washington. We'll need patience, but the numbers are coming in the right way. And with Maine and Maryland winning the freedom to marry, we believe we are poised to make history in Washington state. But there are still well over 400,000 ballots to be processed and we have to be patient."
State Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle summed up what was at stake with the R74 vote in late October, telling Seattle Weekly: "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."
Washington wasn't the only state where history was in the process of being made Tuesday night. As noted by Silk, and according to various reports, Maine and Maryland are also approving gay-marriage laws. Meanwhile, Minnesota was rejecting a constitutional ban against it.