Referendum 74
11:05 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Gay Marriage Supporters Declare Victory

Jodi Denney celebrates with same-sex marriage supporters in Seattle.
Credit Catrena Hampton / KUOW

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Washington are celebrating victory. The campaign to approve Referendum 74, Washington United for Marriage, says it's now confident their four-point lead will hold.

On Wednesday, the crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder as couples and families spilled out the door of the campaign's office in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood.

"How does it feel to make history?" Zach Silk, Washington United's campaign manager, asked the crowd.

Supporters hoisted up rainbow and American flags. They passed boxes of Kleenex, crying together with joy and long-awaited relief.

Caution to Confidence

What a difference a day makes. When Silk addressed supporters on election night, he was cautious about the results. He said the race was too close to call with voter approval at just 52 percent.

Now, he says they’ve crunched the numbers and are confident the measure will pass. The campaign's assurance is based, in part, on a 65 percent lead in King County and better-than-expected support in Eastern Washington.  

State Senator Ed Murray, a main sponsor of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington,  joined in the victory announcement Wednesday.

“The state said to us, you are no longer going to wake up and feel different," Murray said. "You will be the same as everybody else. Your family will be treated the same as everybody else.”

Even though more ballots need to be counted, opponents of gay marriage are already calling it a loss. The National Organization for Marriage, a main backer of the campaign to reject Referendum 74, released a statement Wednesday expressing disappointment that Washington and three other states voted in favor of gay marriage. 

This election marks the first time in US history that voters have said yes to marriage equality.

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