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December 9: Gay Marriage in Washington State

December 9, 2013
1277154119-levinson_bio_150In the year since the first legal gay marriages took place in Washington State on this date in 2012, more than 7,000 same-sex couples have wed, accounting for 17 percent of the total of new marriages in the state in 2013. This was enabled by popular vote, which joined Washington to Maryland and Maine as the three of 16 marriage-equality states that attained that status through referenda. A critical player in Washington’s referendum campaign was Anne Levinson, a former judge and co-owner of the Seattle Storm team of the WNBA, who coordinated the legal team of Legal Voice and ACLU and served as advisor to Washington United for Marriage. The referendum passed by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. Challenges to marriage discrimination in Washington dated back to 1971, when Faygele ben Miriam (born John Singer) and his partner requested a marriage license in Seattle and unsuccessfully brought suit against the state for violating their rights. “Each of us has a responsibility to help improve the world in which we live and we can each work on change, whether it’s large or small, wherever we are. It will always seem there are not enough hours in the day, but everybody can contribute to positive change.” —Anne Levinson