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County Council declares its support for marriage equality


“Separate is never equal”


The Metropolitan King County Council pledged its bipartisan support to marriage as part of the proposed 2012 legislative agenda for King County. The amendment was adopted by the Council at its January 9 meeting.

“We have confirmed our County’s commitment to equality for all of Washington’s families,” said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. “I want the opportunity to marry my partner of over 12 years before our families and friends. The Council’s vote is very personal for me and the thousands of families who are denied rights simply because of who they love.”

“Many have marched, fought and died for equality,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Ensuring that equality is ‘sex neutral’ and that loving and committed adult couples are free to marry is something that I have always supported. This vote, affirming King County’s support for marriage equality, is simply the latest step in this fight.”

“State passage of marriage rights for gay families is the right thing to do for the thousands of individuals who have long suffered the inequalities of the current law and for those of us in King County who support justice, freedom, personal responsibility, and commitment,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “I thank Councilmember McDermott for offering this amendment and am proud to support marriage equality here and before the state legislature.”

Legislation in 2007 established Washington’s domestic partnership registry and ensured parity between married couples and domestic partners for 23 rights and responsibilities. More than 170 rights were added in 2008. The remaining 283 were added and approved by the voters in 2009. Last week the Governor announced that she will introduce a bill to finish this work and provide marriage for same-sex couples.

“I support legislation that promotes monogamous, stable and creative relationships,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson. “Preventing a loving same-sex couple from making a legal commitment to each other is contrary to these values.”

“Supporting marriage equality puts King County on the right side of history when it comes to this important equal rights issue,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “As a long-time supporter of marriage equality, I am proud to stand with my colleagues in urging the state legislature to recognize the love and commitment of all of Washington’s residents.”

“Marriage equality has always been the goal. Separate is never equal, and ‘marriage’ is the term that is used and understood,” said McDermott, who championed the state’s domestic partnership law while serving in the state Legislature.

The adopted amendment will be added to the statement of state policy, a companion to King County’s legislative agenda. The Council is scheduled to adopt the legislative agenda at its January 17 meeting.

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