UPDATED: President Obama endorses marriage equality ballot measures in Washington, Maine and Maryland
October 25, 2012
Updated as of 6:00 pm Eastern to reflect Maine endorsement and 8:05 Eastern to reflect Maryland endorsement
The Obama campaign made a flurry of announcements today pertaining to the four marriage equality ballot measures that will appear on the November ballot, formally endorsing Referendum 74 in Washington, Question 1 in Maine and Question 6 in Maryland, all of which would grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The campaign had already spoken out in April against Minnesota’s Marriage Amendment, which would amend the state’s constitution to forbid marriage equality.
In Washington, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported the following statement today from Paul Bell, the Washington Press Secretary for Obama for America:
“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74.”
That statement matched one noted in the Portland Press Herald and made by Michael Czin, OFA’s Northeast regional press secretary, which began with the same language and then went on to read, “The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.” Tonight, via email, Maryland’s marriage equality campaign also announced the president’s endorsement with the following quote from Obama campaign spokesman Frank Benenati: “Maryland’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Maryland couples equally, and that is why the president supports Question 6.”
In April, Metro Weekly covered the following statement made by the campaign regarding the Minnesota Marriage Amendment by OFA Minnesota Communications Director Kristin Sosanie:
“[T]he Minnesota ballot initiative … would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples — and that’s why the President does not support it.”
President Obama has weighed in before against efforts to ban marriage equality, most recently in North Carolina against Amendment 1. And earlier this year, of course, he announced his personal support for the right of same-sex couples to marry. But today’s announcements marks the first time he has announced support for an initiative to approve marriage equality.
Washington United for Marriage’s campaign manager, Zach Silk, issued the following statement today regarding the president’s endorsement:
“President Obama support for marriage reflects what’s happening in WA and across the country. As more people, and more voters, realize that only marriage fully protects and supports families, they move towards supporting marriage for same-sex couples and approving Referendum 74. “We’re now in the home stretch, mobilizing thousands of volunteers with the largest ground game in Washington ballot history. We feel momentum is on our side, and having the President weigh in on approving Referendum 74 puts an extra gust of wind in our sails.”
These announcements by the Obama campaign demonstrate the President’s confidence that marriage equality is a winning issue for him and for Democrats, even in a close presidential race. That alone is a sign of great progress and a mark of just how significantly the politics surrounding marriage equality has shifted.
What you can do to pass marriage equality in Washington:
1. Contribute to the campaign to approve marriage equality in Washington, via ActBlue.
2. Volunteer to make calls to voters in Washington.
3. Sign up to travel to Washington and help get out the vote! Courage Campaign is arranging out-of-state caravans and travel assistance is available.