The Undecided Votes on Marriage Equality

Meet the handful of undecided Washington State senators who will determine whether same-sex marriage is legalized 
this year—and here’s their contact info, too!

Comments

1
No on gay marriages
I would not be opposed to a legal union. But why tarnish the word marriage more than it has been.
3
Yes, by all means, let's leave the tarnishing up to folks like Kim Kardashian and MN Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (who had an affair with one of her staff members) instead.

http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2011/…

Straights have this marriage thing DOWN.
4
Please everyone, contact the Senators outlined above & urge them to pass the marriage equality bill! Everyone deserves equality, and we have to work together to bring equality to Washington. We can't let the bigots win again. We have to strive for equal rights! We can do this! We're so close!
5
Just wrote to Senator Hill:

Dear Senator Hill,
I am writing you to ask for your support of marriage equality in Washington. I moved here 3 years ago from New Mexico and have always been mesmerized by the beauty of my new state and its people. Never did I think that I could marry my partner of 8 years but I really can see that it might be a possibility for me.

I grew up with the same dreams most women have: love, a good job, marriage and a family. I have pulled off 3 of those four. You could, suprisingly enough, be the key to my getting married. My mother will be so proud, my potential marriage so closely tied to a Senator. ha-ha.

Please, consider the quality of life for all Washington people and support marriage equality. You know it is the right thing to do. If for no other reason, do it for my mother.

In friendship,
Laura
6
Senators, please support and defend the constitution of the United States...

First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Fourteenth Amendment:
no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

These two clauses taken together (or separately for that matter) should make it clear that marriage equality is a constitutional imperative. The state should not be in the business of making religious decisions for individuals, nor should it be in the business of treating people differently based on their personal religious beliefs.
7
Thanks! Just wrote letters (yes, I'll invest $.44 x 6) to all 6 senators and mailing them today!
8
Just wrote Senator Shin:

Dear Senator Shin,

I recently read an article in the paper about governor Gregoire’s plan to introduce legislation for marriage equality in Washington state. As a resident of Edmonds, I ask you to vote “Yes” to give marriage equality to all citizens who commit their lives to one another. As a 42 year old gay man in a 20-year committed relationship, I encourage you to stand up for my rights as a citizen to achieve full equality in the eyes of the law.

I just read an article that was written about you in 2009, when you visited Toronto. I was moved by your story, and applaud your ability to overcome overwhelming odds thanks in part to your adoptive father. One quote that stood out for me in the article said this:

“On weekends, we used to go to civilian restaurants. Those restaurants used to put up a sign saying, “Whites Only”. I was discouraged from going in, but my buddies said it was ok. As I went in one day, an extremely angry manager walked over, lifted me up from a chair, walked all the way across the restaurant, and threw me out. As I hit the concrete floor, I questioned, “God, if you are there please let me know why I am always subject to discrimination.” This is when I started to dream about becoming a politician who can make and change laws. It took 32 years to make it happen as all good things do not come in easy packages. But it comes and it is worthwhile.”

While gay rights have improved during my lifetime, I often ask myself a similar question. Why am I treated differently than my heterosexual counterparts? My partner of over 20 years does not have clear legal rights to my estate, 401(k), or pension. If my family chose to, they could fight to take away half of the financial nest egg my partner and I have built together. They could prevent him from seeing me if I was on my deathbed in the hospital. Fortunately my family treats us as a married couple, even if it is not recognized under the law. But there are hundreds, if not thousands of constituents that may not be so fortunate.

You have worked hard to get where you are. Your constituents voted for you recognizing your drive to make good decisions on their behalf. This is not a religious issue as churches, synagogues, mosques and the like will still have a choice whether to allow marriages to take place in their houses of worship. This is a vote that will allow all people in committed relationships to have the same rights under the law. As you said in the article, “all good things do not come in easy packages. But it comes and it is worthwhile.” Please be on the right side of history regarding marriage equality.
9
I have just written to each Senator encouraging a Yes vote on Marriage Equality in the State of Washington. I would further encourage each of you to do the same. This is so close, and it should be!
LCS
10
Dear Ms. Haugen,
I am writing to encourage you to vote for gay marriage. I moved to Seattle from Maine four years ago because I wanted to live in a community that supported the rights and freedom of everyone. Here in Washington, I have found a wonderful job teaching second grade, a great apartment, wonderful businesses and restaurants, and most importantly, a community that encourages individuality and diversity. I have close friends who are in homosexual and heterosexual relationships, friends who practice a variety of religions, friends who are old and young, and friends who come from different ethnic backgrounds. I love observing how all these different families care for their children in largely the same way, with love and respect. The children that I know with with same sex parents have the same struggles and the same celebrations as the children in other types of families. All of these families deserve to be celebrated by the state of Washington in the same way. Marriage equality will not only allow parents in same sex relationships to have the same benefits from the state as parents in heterosexual marriages, but it is also the right thing to do. Marriage equality supports values that I know and see in Washington every day, the values that I moved here to find.
Thank you,
Hannah
11
Microsoft Corp has long been a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, having had same-sex partner benefits for quite some time. I encourage Andy Hill to take the extra step and follow the footsteps of what major companies have already backed up with real policy. My personal message to Andy: Think of all the gay partners who have cancer and cannot receive help from their loved one who has the medical benefits, simply because they are not of the opposite sex, and do not work at Microsoft.
12
I am unable to find any logical reason why two men or two women cannot be married. I know so many same-sex couples who are in ongoing, long-term relationships. They've been much more successful at falling in love and committing to each other than I have been in my 40 years. My uncles have been together for as long as I can remember. People I used to work with are in wonderful relationships. There's no difference between their marriages and that of my parents except body parts. There's just absolutely no legally logical reason for the state to prevent the marriage of two consenting adults whose union would not produce a genetically compromised offspring. The government protects minors by not allowing them to marry. The government does not condone the marriage of cousins in order to try to prevent the genetic issues the offspring would have. These are scientifically proven issues that the government is rightly preventing in order to fulfill its responsibility to the People. What harm is the government trying to prevent by not allowing two men or two women to marry? Quit letting the government stand in they way of two people who just want to love each other.
13
Do the right thing, Senators :)
14
I am a lesbian who has no rights in my state of Minnesota. I had been in a committed relationship with my first life partner for 22 years until death did us part. I am currently married to my wife of 4 years (MA). Our children and siblings could contest our wills, or would need to give consent for our medical and afterlife wishes.

I had no idea that the act of a real marriage would so deeply affect our sense of full life partnership but I take joy in it every day, limited as it's legality is . Please give all Americans citizens this right of recognition.
15
@ Eli - Paull Shin took the last name of his adopted father as his first name, when he was adopted by him in Korea and brought to America, Salt Lake City, and probably Mormonism.

@ Everyone else - Thank you for sharing your letters and stories. I will definitely be contacting these folks, your stories are as inspiring to action as this article.
16
My letter, sent to all senators:

While you wrestle with whether to support marriage equality, I want to tell you the story of two friends of mine: Bob and Larry.

They were together for twenty five years when Larry was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. They both knew it was a death sentence, so they went to their attorney and said "What do we need to do?"

The attorney got them wills, living wills and medical power of attorney. When Larry died, Bob thought that everthing was in order.

Then it came time for Larry's body to be sent to the hospital.

It turns out that when a person dies, that person's corpse becomes a piece of property, and under law, that piece of property legally belongs to the next of kin. Though Bob and Larry had been together for twenty-five years, without marriage they were legally regarded as strangers to each other, and Bob was not legally allowed to sign the forms releasing Larry's body from the hospital to be sent to the funeral home.

If they had been a hetereosexual couple, the surviving spouse would have had the unquestioned right to release the body, and nobody would have asked to see a marriage lisence for documentation.

This is the kind of indignity that gay and lesbian couples face all too often; without marriage, our relationships are not honored unless we have lawyers that can forsee every possible contingency. Even then, in many states, the parents or siblings of gays and lesbians have been known to successfully challenge wills, and medical powers of attorney have gone unrecognized.

Furthermore, gays and lesbians have NO legal right to leave pension or social security benefits to partners without legally recognized marriage, nor, in most places, do they have the right to put their spouses on their employer-provided health insurance.

My husband and I are legally married, but our state of residence does not recognize our marriage. He goes without health insurance because my employer will not allow me to add him to the plan. We keep copies of our medical powers of attorney, our living wills in out glove compartments in case one of us is hospitalized on an emergency basis. We recently added documents authorizing each other to release our bodies from a morgue or hospital to a funeral home. Heterosexual couples do not need to do this, and if one of our parents or siblings were to contest any of the documents, we might find ourselves in a legal battle at the worst of all possible moments.

I am taking early retirement in two years, and we plan to move to a marriage equality state. When we relocate, we plan to work for at least another decade. We will move with several hundred thousand dollars of savings and investments, as well as the six university degrees we have between us. We would love to move to Washington. Please vote in favor of marriage equality, and make that possible.

17
I'm not American so(obviously) I have no influence in the passing of your laws, but Please guys, do whatever you can to convince these guys to side with us! Once legal gay marriage becomes the norm in the States the rest of the world is sure to follow.

(sorry for my bad English)

Portrait
18
@12 The inability to get a STATE recognized marriage does stop people from loving each other.
19
I'm not American and as such (obviously) have no influence in the passing of your legislation. But I can plead with you guys to DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN because if gay marriage becomes the norm in the states the rest of the world is sure to follow.

Sorry for my poor English

Portrait
20
@18 You're right. It does not stop love. But it does add complications that affect the quality of people's lives for no logical reason.
21
Puyallup-South Hill is not "Southeast Tacoma," but thank you for posting this!
22
Thank you, Jim Kastama! Come on, one more vote!!!
It's high time.
23
I'm the gay son of a lesbian; both of us grew up in Auburn. Although I live in BC now, I've emailed Fain and told all my friends from back home to contact him as well. Time for all us urbanites to mobilize the folks who didn't get out of town...
24
I've just emailed every one of these senators asking them to vote "yes" on SB 6239 (even though I don't live in any of their districts). One of them has to say "yes". I'm hedging my bets on Joe Fain. We're just one vote away! One vote! Keep your fingers crossed and your tits tied, ladies!

http://brandonarkell.com/2012/01/19/gay-…
25
Wow...how does the author expect people to change their mind when they trash the undecided votes like that?

And why is this even being considered? Why aren't they focused on fiscal issues? Oh yeah, I forgot, those take a back seat to non-issues.
26
I just sent each senator the same plea - vote yes and be on the right side of history. Encourage everyone to do the same!
27
I'll bet $100 that there is at least one vote that is still in the closet...and another $100 that he/she is a Republican...
28
@25
Marriage equality may be a "non-issue" to you, but I'm guessing that's because you're a heterosexual who can marry the person of your choice at any time.

As a gay man, I am frequently appalled at how ignorant straight people are about marriage. They either get married without thinking about it, or they self-righteously say that they don't need a piece of paper in order to love each other. Maybe they don't need the piece of paper to love each other, but when insurance or pension or immigration or illness or end-of-life issues arise, that piece of paper becomes hugely important. And often people don't realize how important that piece of paper is until they need it, don't have it, and can't get it because either (a) religious conservatives don't approve, or (b) smug heterosexuals dismiss it as a "non-issue."
29
Dear Senator Kastama,

Back in 1971, shortly after I moved from Olympia to Seattle, my friend John Singer and I ended up suing King County for the right to marry each other. Of course we never gained that right. That was a really, really long time ago, and John has passed away in the years since. But there are a whole bunch of other young loving couples who look forward to spending their lives together, and with your support they will be able to do so with the same rights and protections their heterosexual brothers and sisters enjoy. I cannot express in words how much that will mean to them, (and to this old man).

I know that you are coming under a lot of political pressure since you announced that you would vote for marriage equality. I applaud and thank you for your bravery for doing the right thing even though it may be difficult.

God bless you,
30
Dear Senator Shin,

I wish to send you a personal message of love and support in the name of equal justice and legal freedoms for all. In relation to Senate Bill 6239, I am sure that you are struggling with the input of support and opposition from constituents, while contemplating your own personal beliefs and philosophy of faith. I live in Lynnwood, and have had the pleasure of meeting you and seeing you speak at a number of local political functions. You have not disturbed me as a corrupt or inept politician, and I have strong hopes that you will do the right thing in regards to this issue. You have an inspiring story, and I am impressed by the height of your ascendance from begging on the streets. I urge you to work towards the most good with the power which the people of your district have given you, and I believe you would be neglecting to do so by not supporting this legislation.

I am a woman, married to a man for the last 8 years. My marriage, which involves consenting adults making a promise to love and support each other in the way that works best for us is recognized by our state because we happen to be born with opposite genitalia. Not because we are religious, or plan on having children, but because we wish to share our lives together and decided to sign the contact available to recognize that decision with our government.

For those loving couples that I know that happen to have fallen in love with human beings that share similar genitalia and gender expression, the option to have their relationship recognized and benefited by the institution of marriage is not yet available, and I do believe that is a tragic malfeasance of justice, and an oppression via ancient confusion over biology and sex. For those consenting adults who wish to raise children, either by adoption, surrogacy or artificial insemination, I do believe we suffer harm upon their family, and the livelihood of their children by withholding recognition of their union in our social policy and law.

You have quoted a sentiment on many occasions, which I want you to contemplate as you consider this bill.

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain."

You have an inspirational story of success and love in your life, and I respect that you may be struggling with supporting this bill. I urge you to get moving, get grooving and shimmy your support and your vote towards a celebration of love in all it's forms, and to ignore the storm of hate which hopes to fight this advancement of civil liberties for those in our community.

Sincerely,

Your constituent
31
I am asking for your support of gay marriage. It is unfortunate in this day and age that it takes courage to stand up for what amounts to basic civil rights - we should all be standing up for rights for everyone, no matter what. There is a community of people, gay and gay supporters, that need your help to move forward.

I have a brother who is gay, and his relationship has lasted longer than my sisters first 2 marriages (she is on her third). Whose relationship is "better" or more worthy of marriage?

In times when conservative organizations seem to be trying to one up each other in how intolerant they can be, it would be wonderful to see someone refuse to be part of that rhetoric and address the actual issue, humanity.

Ingrid
32
Dear Senator Hill,

It is my understanding that you are still undecided on the upcoming vote to provide to all Washingtonians the right to legally marry another consenting adult, regardless of their sexual orientation. I am writing to urge you to vote to pass this bill.

One year ago, I married my husband. Attending our ceremony were more than a few friends and family members who legally could not do the same. My husband and I had a secular ceremony in which we pledged our love, devotion, and respect to each other. Being able to do so honored our relationship and commitment to each in a way that just living together as partners, which we did for 3 years, could not. Six months later, our daughter was born and we chose for me to stay home with her. Because we are a married heterosexual couple, I receive benefits such as health care that are denied to numerous other parents in my position because of their sexual orientation. This hardly seems fair or equal and is just one example of the unfair privilege I am given as a straight person.

I want my daughter to grow up believing that all people are created equal. I want her to see that her family and friends who are gay are given the same respect and rights as her parents. I want her to know that no person, or government, should have the right to oppress any person for something they cannot control, be it race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. I want her to not only believe, but see it to be true in the way that her fellow Americans, including elected officials, treat each other.

Please help to create such a world for my daughter.

Respectfully,
Katie
33
Thank you Stranger for this amazing article and call to action!
34
I'm under 30 and oppose so-called same-sex "marriage." I don't believe that age should determine what a person believes. I believe that everyone should use their best judgement to find truth, because truth doesn't adjust itself to your age.
35
Why do you guys keep calling Sheldon a Kitsap County politician? Most of his area is Mason County, he lives in Mason County and he is a Mason County Commissioner while also being a state senator.
36
@34 --- You're right. Age shouldn't matter when it comes to marriage equality. All people of all ages should support marriage equality. Just as all people should support interracial marriage, or marriage of sterile couples, or marriage involving post-menopausal women, or marriage of couples who choose not to have children, or to adopt children. Because marriage is obviously not just about the ability to procreate, but rather to have your love recognised and protected.
38
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…
39
Has anyone gotten a response from their senator yet? I know they're probably incredibly busy, but I'm curious to know :) I sent a letter out to my Senator, Andy Hill about a week ago. Given that his constituents on the Eastside are probably liberal as hell, he would do well to vote in support. I'm going to try calling later :) We'll see what happens on Monday!

Dear Sen. Hill,

I am a 17 year old girl living in Kirkland, and I am writing to you today in the hopes that you will support the same-sex marriage bill currently being discussed in Washington's senate. It is only 2 votes short at the moment, and according to news articles, you are still uncommitted on the matter. I hope that after reading my letter, you will consider giving your support to this measure.

Though I do not identify as a gay, I have many close gay friends. Outside of their romantic relationships, they are no different from my straight friends. Thus, it saddens me deeply that they should not receive the same rights that I have. I believe that any person, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the same political rights. After all, America was built on the ideas of equality and political freedom from the very start, and so it should be our duty to uphold these values and do our best to make them a reality.

Keeping things as they are is not enough. A civil union is not a marriage. While "separate," they are certainly not "equal." Gay couples are denied benefits that a heterosexual couple would receive--insurance, taxes, child custody, medical care, and retirement benefits, which is clearly unfair. I'm sure that when you were in the hospital fighting cancer, the support of your family must have meant a great deal to you. However, gay people are often not allowed to see their partners in the hospital, simply because they did not fall under the government's definition of "family." This arbitrary distinction results in a lot grief and hardship for gay people, and this should not be allowed to continue.

I believe that marriage should be between two people who love each other and have made a commitment to be together. There is no reason that the gender of the people involved should impact their ability to love or to make commitments. Two caring and responsible people of the same gender are just as capable of raising a family as a man and a woman. Thus, I think that any two consenting adults, regardless of their gender, should be allowed to marry.

I am fully aware that as a Republican politician, you may be concerned that some of your constituents and voters will not support gay marriage. However, I believe that enough people, especially in our area, are beginning to open up their minds on the issue to lend their support to this bill. Equality and civil rights should be on a bipartisan agenda that every politician seeks to pursue.

Our society is gradually becoming more progressive and accepting towards our differences, and civil rights movements of the past have proved that society can rectify intolerance and inequality. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday has just passed, and if he were alive, he would be proud to see how far America has come in breaking down racial barriers. But I know that he and other civil rights leaders would be even prouder to see us start breaking down barriers that prevent same-sex marriage. So I urge you to follow in their footsteps and be part of Washington's move towards change for the better. Your support of the same-sex marriage bill will be one more step towards eliminating hatred and prejudice in our society.

I have attempted to keep this letter brief because I know you must be very busy. However, I would be happy to continue a discussion on this subject should you be willing. I thank you for everything you do, and I hope you will seriously consider supporting the bill, Senator Hill.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
40
#1...so, only us straight folks should get to tarnish the word marriage?

#34..."Rebecca F", from what I read in your post, you are NOT using your best judgment to find "the truth".

And while truth doesn't adjust itself to your age, it does adjust itself to reality.

Here's reality for ya: LGBT people cannot be successfully forced to become heterosexual OR celibate through lack of social or legal recognition. If you accept reality, therefore, all the arguments against same-sex marriage(and no, it's no more "so-called" than heterosexual marriage, and probably less "so-called" than most celebrity heterosexual marriages)collapse.

Just go with it, ok? Fighting against ssm isn't worth your energy, and hating people for being different than you isn't worth your time.
41
Thanks, Stranger for your organized efforts.

Props to Sen. Kastama too. All of my letters are sent.

Continue to use love to change the minds of our fellow humans who do not support marriage equality. It will work so much better than hate.
42
Thanks, Stranger for your organized efforts.

Props to Sen. Kastama too. All of my letters are sent.

Continue to use love to change the minds of our fellow humans who do not support marriage equality. It will work so much better than hate.
43
I think I just heard on the radio that Mary Margaret Haugen announced for yes.
44
She did!! So come on Stranger, where's the update? I'm surprised to hear about this from 107.7 The End's text message before you!
45
Oh my god I'm so excited right now. I hope I hop I hope it's full-steam ahead from here, without any stupid Ken Hutcherson ballots to block the way.

Speaking of Ken Hutcherson, do you know what he said in a recent article in thinkprogress.com? He said that if a man ever opened a door for him, he would rip the man's arm off and beat him to death with the wet end. Wow. I'm sure that's exactly what Jesus would do, too.

What a vicious, vile man.
46
Enough with the biased "marriage equality" phrase. Are you going to call it "marriage equality" when the polygamists want polygamy legalized?

It's same-sex marriage.
47
Here's what I'm sending to my senator:

Senator Fain, I'm writing to encourage you to consider supporting the marriage equality bill now being proposed. You might remember me: we met briefly after my run for County Council in 2005 (against your former boss, Pete von Reichbauer).

What you probably don't know about me - most people don't - is that I was brought up by two women. This was in an era when it was critically important that no one know that they were more than roommates - they could have lost their jobs, my mother certainly could have lost custody of me, and they could even have gone to jail. Had they been able to marry, many things would have been different, and nearly all would have been for the better. My mother's former partner (my godmother) is now in her 70s, a cancer survivor, and living with a woman who has been her partner for more than 25 years. If my godmother were to pass away, her partner would essentially be in a position of having to get a court order to be able to comply with my godmother's wishes as regards her burial, will, etc. This is not right. These are two people, who by all that is decent, should be able to marry. This kind of lasting, loving relationship is the very foundation of society.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, it does me no injury if my same-sex neighbors are able to marry. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. It is time that my godmother - and so many of my friends who are also in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships - have the same right as the rest of us to marry the person whom they love. Please consider supporting this issue when it comes before the Senate.

Thank you for your time.
48
@33: Ditto!
49
She said as a christian she talked to so many people she became aware of her ignorance regarding their reality. She could no longer judge them given her conservative religious indoctrination.

Homosexuality in either gender isn't a fucking "choice".

As an avowed heterosexual, I have lived through a few too many failed dates where my oral predilection ruined em.

I was so close to a few total babes that I could smell why I was right in falling for them, only to be told, usually in a furiously reactionary voice when i got my nose into that crotch- "I'm not into that!!111"

I slunk back and asked, "So how about those Mariners" or whatever. The night was over in any case.

I did not choose to be oral. I never got a vote to follow my heart and nose when pursuing dates.

This is a result of the hardwiring that took place beginning at conception, borne of the utterly secular DNA involved in the sperm and egg that begat my life.

It is determined genetically; if anything we should blame our parents for how we turned out.

Dad, you Motherfucker.

If you will.

Signed, an unapologetic, oral heterosexual.

You who feel it is religion that supports hetero breeders- suck my dick. Well, if you are a feral female anyway. No homo.

I'll make it worth your time, lol.
50
Just wrote to Paull Shin.

Hi Sen Shin,

I am a constituent in your district. I voted for you in the last election, and I believe Edmonds and Lynnwood are doing very well. I would like to take this opportunity to voice my support for Gay Marriage in Washington State. I believe that it is the right thing to do. We aren't all religious people, even though I happen to be one. The right for marriage is a legal one, not a religious or moral decision. We need to allow people of all sexual orientations to marry because there are legal consequences to not allowing them to marry. How will they divorce fairly if they don't have legal protections? How will they represent themselves for one another in life or death situations? How will they file their taxes, and pay for insurance? I know that there are provisions to help out, but I think that setting a precedent of equality for them can only help our legal system in general. It will also help to send a message to the hundreds of LGBT teens who are in crisis, and may be contemplating suicide, that they are on a path towards acceptance and a life not full of hardship, but full of opportunity.

Please take my opinion into consideration when making your vote. I believe in this very strongly. We've marginalized the gay community for far too long. They deserve the liberties that straight people enjoy.

Thank you,