Same-sex marriage advocates came together Wednesday night to celebrate the unofficial Referendum 74 victory, and to share the coups and snares they’ve encountered on their personal journeys toward marriage equality.
About 40 people attended the post-election service, held at Westminster United Church of Christ, where the Rev. Andrea (Andy) CastroLang welcomed the crowd and congratulated them on their “hopes being fulfilled.”
After reading a letter from Debra Peevey, the Director of Faith Outreach for Washington United for Marriage — who said the Referendum 74 wouldn’t have passed without the efforts of the faith community — guests one-by-one lit a candle and thanked those who made this day possible for them.
“For Gov. Gregoire and her daughters.”
“For my dad, who’s gay.”
“For my mom.”
“For President Obama and Michelle.”
The stories, and tears, flowed as they took turns at the podium.
C.J. Gibble, local field organizer for WUM, said the religious leaders who advocated for Ref. 74 changed many lives.
“I’m grateful to you for the hearts and minds you’ve healed for working on this issue,” she said, adding that the initiative couldn’t have passed without support from churches statewide.
In Spokane more than 15 clergy, of different religious backgrounds, came together to support Ref. 74 by erecting three billboards across town that read, “People of faith support freedom to marry.”
CastroLang said although it’s a time to rejoice, same-sex marriage advocates need to start thinking about what happens next.
“We have neighbors who still don’t understand,” she said. “We still need to talk to our neighbors. We’re still one country; we’re still one Washington.”
She encouraged everyone to keep telling their stories, adding that narratives can bring healing.
As of midnight, Ref. 74 was still leading statewide at 52 percent, and losing in Spokane County at 43 percent, according to the Spokane County Elections Office.
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