With enough ballots counted to make it official, Washington State has become one of the first three states to approve marriage equality through a voter referendum. With 60 percent of the vote counted, Referendum 74 already has the support of 65% of King County (where Seattle is located) and is performing well in key Eastern Washington counties. It is now impossible for opponents to overcome the 52-48% spread for R74. Referendum 74 was the ballot measure that “concerns marriage for same sex couples”.
The delay in announcing the results was because Washington is a vote-by-mail state. Ballots had to be postmarked or dropped in a collection box by the end of the day on November 6. This meant that many of the ballots were not able to be counted until the next day.
“This is a clear win,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk. “We have run the numbers every which way, and we can now confidently say that we have won. This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come.”
Washington will join Maine and Maryland, both of whom passed marriage equality at the ballot box this election cycle as well. Additionally, voters in Minnesota rejected an anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment.
GLAAD has been working with marriage equality supporters in Washington for several months now through the passage of the marriage equality, and offering support to Washington United for Marriage. We assisted reporters who told the story of the wide range of lawmakers who supported marriage equality, from openly gay Ed Murray to Maureen Walsh, who lives in a much more conservative part of Washington. In fact, Rep. Walsh made an appearance at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, to speak about her support for marriage equality.
"Washington voters have demonstrated that equality for gay and lesbian people is a value that goes beyond partisan politics," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "No longer is marriage equality a divisive issue. Voters came together across lines of politics religions, races, ages and genders to make marriage equality a reality for Washington."
Leading up to Election Day, GLAAD worked to counter and expose anti-LGBT activists as they spent countless hours and millions of dollars spreading misinformation about LGBT families. GLAAD also brought the stories of loving and committed couples and our allies to voters across Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, helping Americans better understand the families at the heart of Tuesday's votes. For more information, visit www.glaad.org/vote.