Gubernatorial candidates Jay Inslee and
Rob McKenna have weighed in on an effort to legalize gay marriage in
Washington United for Marriage, a
coalition of gay rights, labor, civil rights and religious groups,
kicked off the effort on Monday with a press conference. The group
will rally support with a series of suburban town hall style meeting
in the coming weeks.
Speaking at the conference, Senator Ed
Murray, a Democrat from Seattle, said he would introduce a gay
marriage bill in January.
“It's not a sure thing,” said
Murray, who is openly gay. “At some point you need to be willing
to take the risk and move forward.”
U.S. Congressman Inslee immediate
endorsed the effort, calling it “the next logical step,” a
reference to a 2009 expansion of the state's domestic partnership
law, which gave gay and lesbian couples all the legal protections of
“For him, it's an equal rights
issue,” Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith told the AP. “He feels
really strongly that the government shouldn't have a role in
preventing a committed couple from enjoying the kind of marriage he
has with his wife.”
Republican State Attorney General Rob
McKenna said through his campaign manager that he supports the
state's current domestic partnership law, but not marriage equality.
“Rob believes that this is an issue
that is going to be decided by the voters,” Randy Pepple said.
Opponents of gay rights who in 2009 put
the domestic partnership law up for a vote said they would lobby
against the bill and vowed to put it up for a vote if approved by
“We believe in marriage,” Gary
Randall, president of the Christian conservative group Faith and
Freedom Network, wrote in a blog post. “We are willing to defend
it, despite the scorn sometimes directed at this stand.”
“Should Murray get this through the
Legislature, and that is not a given even though the numbers seem to
favor him, we will file an initiative or referendum and take it to
the people of the state,” he added.