Going 4 for 4: Voters in Washington affirm the freedom to marry!

Yesterday, a majority of voters in Washington approved Referendum 74, the ballot measure that upholds the freedom to marry in the state, which was passed by the state legislature with bipartisan support and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire in February. Same-sex couples in Washington will be able to attain marriage licenses beginning in early December. After last night's historic wins in MaineMaryland, and Minnesota, the win in Washington means that in all four states facing marriage-related ballot initiatives, voters chose to support fairness for all families. Washington is now the tenth jurisidiction in the United States (nine states, plus the District of Columbia) to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Freedom to Marry's Director of Organizing, Thomas Wheatley, who has served as a key adviser for Washington United for Marriage, the coalition working to approve Referendum 74, celebrated the news in a release. He said:

 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. 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 has led a phenomenal campaign in the past year; the campaign to approve Referendum 74 was one of the most active, engaging ballot initiative campaigns in Washington history. The team raised more than $12 million from 27,000 individual donors and built an incredible coalition of 864 organizations and congregations. Some of the leading corporations in Washington - from Microsoft to Starbucks to REI to T-Mobile - endorsed Referendum 74 - and countless small businesses lent their support, too. The campaign mobilized dozens of organizers and 5,700 volunteers to facilitate 160,000 one-on-one conversations about why marriage matters to same-sex couples.

Freedom to Marry is proud to have played a key role in the Washington United for Marriage campaign. We invested more than $1.2 million directly and helped to raise another $940,000. We also played a crucial leadership role for the campaign, lending strategic guidance and support on messaging, paid media, direct mail, and online strategy. Our Why Marriage Matters Washington public education program helped show voters why we need to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.

Zach Silk, the campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, reflected on Freedom to Marry's involvement with the Approve R74 campaign. He said:

Freedom to Marry stepped right in and exerted leadership to help build one of the most powerful ballot campaigns our state has ever known. 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. 

Follow our Live Blog to get all of the updates on the marriage campaigns. Read about the historic victory in Maine, the win in Maryland, and the defeat of the anti-gay amendment in Minnesota! And to celebrate the freedom to marry in Washington, SHARE THIS GRAPHIC on Facebook!