It is official: Washington United for Marriage has declared victory.
"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 Gov. Chris Gregoire also called the victory in front of hundreds of supporters at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Capitol Hill, the traditionally gay neighborhood in Seattle, celebrated into the wee hours of the night with a spontaneous street party, a marching band, fireworks and DJs. In cities throughout the state, same-sex couples and their families celebrated the most significant development in United States history so far. Until this victory we have never been able to defend ourselves from an attack at the ballot box against our right to marry.
On a personal level, I have never felt prouder to live in this state. It certainly felt awkward to ask my friends and neighbors to vote to approve my civil rights. The stress of the last several years has been unbelievable for our community, but now I'm happy to know that we live in a state that treats all families equally. Wow!
At the same time, I know that when same-sex couples begin marrying in a month, there will still be a lot of work to do as a community. The federal government has yet to recognize our families. It is still legal to be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in more than 30 states. Trans people can not serve openly in the military.
Abroad, there are 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay or lesbian. There are 10 where the punishment is life in prison or death. For my part, I'm going to continue the conversation with you about these issues. It is not enough for me to know that my state treats my family equally. I want every LGBT person in the world to be able to live a life of dignity, respect and equal treatment under the law. Recently, I joined AllOut.org as the Director of Campaigns so that I could work on this mission. Now that we have equality in Washington, I hope you will join me on this mission, as well. We need to reach out and bring our brothers and sisters from around the world into this new reality. No one will be left behind.