Why Winning the Freedom to Marry in Washington matters to Oregonians

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The other day, we had a conversation with our friends at Basic Rights Oregon about the Marriage Equality campaign in Washington. We know that members of the Oregon progressive community support marriage equality for everyone, but we couldn’t help but get the feeling that some Oregonians were feeling a little detached from what’s happening to the north. Maybe it’s because they’re feeling swamped by our own local and state elections. Or maybe it’s because of all the attention devoted to the Presidential election.

But what Basic Rights has starkly and honestly shared is this: Despite the movement’s progress, no state has yet to win the freedom to marry at the ballot. That can — and will — change. But we need to help.

Why Winning the Freedom to Marry in Washington matters to Oregonians

Sasha Buchert, Communications Manager at Basic Rights Oregon

In just a few short weeks, voters in Washington State will have the opportunity to change history by becoming the first state in the nation to win the freedom to marry through a popular vote. This is a key moment in the fight for the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in the Northwest and across the nation. For the first time in history, a sitting president has endorsed marriage equality. And here in Oregon, we’re successfully expanding support for the freedom to marry in communities across the state.

The tide is turning. But despite this progress, the fact remains that no state has yet to win the freedom to marry at the ballot. Our movement is zero for 32 at the ballot on the freedom to marry. 32 state votes and 32 losses.

That is about to change. This is the year we start winning.

It is imperative that Basic Rights Oregon play a role in helping win marriage for our neighbors to the north by investing staff, volunteers and other resources into the campaign. Not only is helping Washington win the freedom to marry the right thing to do, a victory in Washington will be critical in building the momentum needed to win in Oregon.

A victory in Washington will send a resounding message that we agree as a community that not only is the freedom to marry a human right, but that we aspire to live in a region that believes in equality and freedom and that we refuse to enshrine discrimination within our laws and constitutions.

A river separates us, but there is so much that bridges us together. Many of us have family and friends that live across the river, and many of us live and work in both states. Our lives are intertwined, and we know that by changing hearts and minds in Washington, that we are expanding the
support for the freedom to marry in Oregon.

For those reasons, we are joining with the supporters of Referendum 74 by directly engaging Washingtonians in conversations about why marriage matters. We are reaching out to Washington voters through door-to-door canvassing, and by making phone calls five nights a week. This work will help LGBT families in Washington, but it will give Oregonians the valuable training and experience necessary to win in Oregon.

It is imperative that Oregon play a pivotal role in winning the freedom to marry in Washington. Their win is our win, and together we will work toward building a community in the great northwest that strives for equality.

Can we count on you to be part of this historic victory? Click here to find out how you can get involved!

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