Washington

STATUS:

Marriage  

WINNING MARRIAGE: 

On November 6, 2012, Washington became the tenth jurisdiction in the United States (9 states, plus the District of Columbia) to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples when a majority of Washington residents voted to APPROVE Referendum 74 at the ballot on Election Day. Read more about the historic vote.

Referendum 74 upheld the freedom to marry, which was passed legislatively by the Washington state legislature, signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire on February 13, 2012 and challenged by anti-gay activists with a referendum.

Same-sex couples began applying for marriage licenses in Washington on December 6, 2012, and marriages officially began on December 9.

HISTORY:

On July 23, 2007, Washington began offering domestic partnerships to same-sex couples and their families. In 2008, the domestic partnership law was expanded to include a broader set of protections and responsibilities.

Anti-gay opponents tried but failed to repeal the domestic partnership law through a referendum in the November 2009 election.

On February 13, 2012, a freedom to marry bill passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support in each chamber, and the governor signed it into law. The marriage law was scheduled to go into effect on June 7, 2012, but anti-marriage opponents managed to gather the necessary signatures to place repeal of the law on the ballot, so enactment of the law was postponed pending the outcome of the November 2012 vote.

After months of campaigning, Washington United for Marriage, the coalition working to approve Referendum 74, declared victory on November 6, 2012, a historic night where marriage ballot measures also passed in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota.  

GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING ON MARRIAGE:

  • Washington United for Marriage is a coalition a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and businesses working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples. Freedom to Marry is proud to be a founding member of Washington United for Marriage. 
  • Equal Rights Washington is Washington's statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights and advocacy organization.  
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
  • Human Rights Campaign is the United States' largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. 

RECENT POLLING:

A May 2012 poll from the Associated Press and Strategies 360 found in a survey of Washington voters that 55% of respondents said they support the freedom to marry in the state. Only 33% said they would reject the law at the ballot.  

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 19,003 same-sex couples are living in Washington, representing 7.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

Blog Posts Related to Washington

Photographer documents watershed period in gay history with The Gay Men Project

Freedom to Marry caught up with Kevin Truong of The Gay Men Project to chat specifically about his photographs of gay men in committed relationships.

Many marriage states affirm respect for married same-sex couples in Utah

Soon after the federal government's announcement, several other states where same-sex couples can marry - including Washington state, Maryland, and Maine - confirmed that they, too, would honor the couples' marriages.

PHOTOS: Washington senator who led marriage fight weds longtime partner

On Saturday, August 10, Ed Murray, who serves as a state senator in Washington and is now campaigning to become the mayor of Seattle, married his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki on the 22nd anniversary of the day they first met each other.

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Resources Related to Washington

Party Principles: Support for the Freedom to Marry by State and National Political Parties

A listing of both state and national political parties that have made strong statements in support of the freedom to marry.

Moving the Middle on Marriage:  Lessons from Maine and Washington

If advocates can successfully tap into the true spirit of marriage and convince the middle that gay couples want to get married for the same reasons that straight couples do, we think we will be able to address the middle’s remaining concerns and help move that group, and the country, more quickly towards support for marriage.

Washington Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Maine.

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