A new push is on for marriage equality in Washington state.
A broad coalition of groups announced November 14 that they will seek to bring same-sex marriage to a vote next year. Washington United for Marriage brings together dozens of gay rights, civil liberties, labor and religious groups.
Their effort will roll out in suburban town halls early, to build support outside liberal Seattle. This will focus on same-sex couples telling their stories.
Democrats will push legislation in the State House, but they caution that the support may not yet be there in the State Senate. They believe that they will need a number of Republican backers if, as they anticipate, conservative Democrats peel off. Democrats have a 27-22 majority in the state Senate and a 56-42 advantage in the state House.
Openly gay state Sen. Ed Murray said:
“We’re going to push it, I believe 2012 is the best chance we’ve ever had to make marriage equality a reality. [But] we cannot win with just Democrats.”
Proponents anticipate that any legislative success may face a referendum. In September, a poll by Seattle political consulting firm Strategies 360 found support for gay marriage in Washington state at 54-35.
Washington has had civil partnerships, with equivalent rights to marriage, since 2007.
In Oregon, however, marriage equality proponents have pulled back, announcing that they won’t put an initiative on the ballot next year for marriage equality and to repeal the constitutional ban.
“We must allow our education work to continue,” Basic Rights Oregon announced on November 9.
Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director, said:
“We don’t yet have the kind of consensus that would indicate a reasonable expectation of success.”
A Public Policy Polling survey of Oregon voters in June found that 48 percent of voters support marriage equality.
Picture credit darcyandkat