What a Marriage Victory in Washington State Means for the Nation

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of going up to Seattle to speak to the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner in that city. I was there not only to receive HRC's Visibility Award, but also to raise funds for the critical fight for marriage equality, where in just six weeks voters will face a decision on Referendum 74. It was a hugely successful night. I'm proud to share that we raised approximately $300,000 that night, including a $50,000 match from HRC. This is one of the largest amounts raised during a "raise the paddle" in HRC history. The $300,000 brings HRC's total commitment to marriage efforts in Washington State to $1 million. And all of the money we raised will remain in Washington State, going toward the fight to secure marriage there once and for all.

In my remarks, I had the opportunity to share why winning marriage in a state like Washington is so important, and why it's a personal cause for me. When I came out, I was lucky enough to be living in Los Angeles, where I was able to connect with so many other gay and lesbian people who made me realize that there was absolutely nothing wrong with who I was. But for so many young people across the country, that is a reality they are denied. So many of our young people live in communities where they are shunned, even by their own families, simply because of who they are.

My older brother was one of those people who never had the opportunity to live in a community that would entirely accept him for the wonderful person he was. He died of cancer earlier this year, and because he lived in Virginia, a state that is not yet as welcoming to LGBT people as others, he was never able to truly live openly and happily.

A win in Washington State on November 6 will change the game for young people like my brother across this country. When those kids learn that the voters of Washington State went to the polls to affirm that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being LGBT, and that there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to marry the person you love, they will realize that progress is on their side. I cannot emphasize enough what a powerful message a victory in a state like Washington sends.

Please join me in the fight to support marriage equality in Washington State. HRC is a founding member of Washington United for Marriage. You can donate directly to HRC's special fund for Washington State, 100 percent of your contribution will go toward approving Referendum 74.