by Shar Lichty
We made history on Nov. 6th, becoming the first state to defend the freedom to marry at the ballot by 53.32% to 46.68%. We were an important part of a historical night for LGBT rights and recognition nationally.
None of this would have been possible without a campaign dedicated to organizing in Eastern Washington. We had significant gains in Eastern WA support from R71 to R74 with the three largest gains being: Garfield County, 5.89% increase; Whitman County, 5.14% increase; and Spokane County, 4.48% increase. The City of Spokane also saw a significant 4.37% increase with the larger gains coming from the more conservative districts: District 1, 3.09% increase and District 3, 6.37% increase.
Spokane played another key role in Approving R74 with 16 faith leaders publicly endorsing the freedom to marry. From their moving testimony at City Hall, to the Rally for Love in response to Santorum’s visit to Spokane, to the three billboards showing their support, many undecided voters were able to consider another faith perspective than the inaccurate, fear mongering ads the opposition dumped on the local airwaves. Every single message, story and conversation with voters played a crucial role in winning.
Many of these conversations occurred during phone banks and canvasses. Local community members voiced their concerns early on about needing a strong campaign presence in Eastern Washington. Our voices were heard, we had a local campaign office and dedicated campaign staff to work with. Phone bank strategies changed as needed, opportunities increased as we approached election day, and volunteer recruitment intensified. Many of us were contacting voters on election day to remind them to vote. Later that evening, we came together with the community to watch the results come in. One by one, results came in affirming we are on the right side of history. The cheers from the crowd with each result was a great finale to eleven months of hard work.
Thank you for all you did to help us defend the freedom to marry with your votes, conversations with friends and family, and volunteer time. Those of us in Eastern Washington were the key to Victory! I hope you are enjoying the benefits of all of our hard work, as I am, through the many beautiful stories of loving, committed couples who are now able to marry.