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15 November 2011

OutQ News: Washington United For Marriage Announces Marriage Equality Fight (11/14/11)

Originally broadcast on Sirius/XM OutQ News on 15 November 2011.

Two years after state lawmakers secured Washington State’s “everything but marriage” law, they have announced plans for the next step.

In the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, leaders from various gay rights groups joined together to announce a coalition to continue the fight for full marriage equality in the state. Washington United for Marriage outlined plans to lobby the State legislature for a gay marriage law.

While organizers explain the new law will not grant additional rights and responsibilities, it would remove the stigma associated with same-sex relationships in the Evergreen State.

The coalition, comprised of the Human Rights Campaign, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Equal Rights Washington and dozens of local and regional business groups, recognize a tough road ahead.

Equal Rights Washington director Rod Hearne said in a statement that "countless individuals have a story to tell about why civil marriage matters to them." He added that they will work "neighbor-to-neighbor to ensure the voices of the loving and committed couples in Washington, many raising children, are heard.”

Despite Democratic control of the Senate and House, along with a supportive Governor, openly-gay State Senator Ed Murray says some conservative Democrats voting against gay rights in past efforts will need to be replaced by Republican votes.

Murray told The Seattle Times he will work with the coalition to raise funds and increase public awareness.

If gay marriage passes, Washington State would join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia, where those unions are also legal.

READ: Full press release from Washington United for Marriage (PDF)

For more on this story, listen to my radio report (MP3), as heard on Sirius/XM OutQ News on 15 November 2011: