Chapter 15: Welcome to the Other Side of the Rainbow

Senator Ed Murray had a roadmap to win equality in Washington. It would take years, and for much of that time, nobody believed he could do it.

That’s because a key ingredient of his plan was time and patience. Rather than pushing for full marriage, Ed wanted to take a slow-motion approach, gradually educating legislators about marriage over the course of years before putting a marriage bill in front of them.

Impatient allies didn’t see the point. But Ed’s strategy was vindicated one day in 2012 when he was sitting in his office with his partner Michael, both of them collecting themselves after an emotional testimony about why their long relationship deserved equal treatment under the law. In walked Mary Margaret Haugen, a longtime legislator with a conservative district. She had voted against marriage equality in the past, but today, she told them, she had changed her mind. It was simply the right thing to do, she realized, even though it meant she would probably lose her seat.

That’s when it was clear that the tide had turned. People who would never have supported the freedom to marry before now found themselves switching sides, even if it came at a great cost.

“We have been on a long journey,” Governor Christine Gregoire said. After years of work, she said, the marriage bill was “the final step. It is the right step. We have finally said yes to marriage equality.”

But it wasn’t the final step after all. Instantly, anti-gay groups began gathering signatures to put their definition of marriage on the ballot that November. Winning over the conscience of the legislature was a multi-decade effort; now, Ed had eleven months to win over the conscience of the whole state.

Parisian Kevin MacLeod ( 
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