Communities of Color Endorse Washington United for Marriage Campaign to Approve Referendum 74 and Support Marriage Law

Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition working to defend the state’s existing marriage law, today announced nearly 200 endorsements from communities of color organizations and leaders statewide. The broad support comes from organizations, civic and tribal leaders, and elected officials representing Asian Pacific American, Latino, African American and Native American communities that focus on issues such as immigrant advocacy, sexual and domestic violence and human trafficking, LGBT Latino health, and civil rights advocacy for people of color.

“These organizations and local leaders address a wide range of challenges facing people of color in our state today – from immigration rights to quality of life,” said Zach Silk, WUM campaign manager. “They support R74 and our state law which gives everyone the freedom to marry because they know a strong family is the foundation to a strong community.”

Among the endorsers are:  The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, a statewide network of community organizations; Entre Hermanos, an organization serving Seattle’s Latino LGBT community; the Latino Community Fund of Washington, the leading philanthropic organization for Latinos in Washington; the League of United Latin American Citizens, the nation’s oldest Latino civil rights organization; One America Votes, the state’s largest immigrant rights organization; the Organization of Chinese Americans of Greater Seattle; the Suquamish Tribe; and, The Black Collective,  a volunteer leadership organization which addresses issues impacting the African American community of Tacoma and Pierce County.

Individual endorsers include Martha Choe, Chief Administrative Officer of the Gates Foundation and former Seattle City Council member; Ricardo Garcia, former Executive Director of the Northwest Communities Education Center; former State Senator Claudia Kauffman; State Representative Luis Moscoso; Harold Moss, Tacoma’s first African-American mayor; Magdaleno Rose-Avila, Director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and former Executive Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; Albert Shen, U.S. Small Business Association’s 2012 Washington State Minority Champion of the Year and Seattle Community College trustee; Ron Sims, former King County Executive and HUD deputy secretary; and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. (Organizational affiliations for identification purposes only.)

In addition, several communities of color will have the opportunity to learn more about the need to approve Referendum 74 on Sept. 15 and 16 during Seattle’s celebration of Fiestas Patrias, and Sept. 21 in Tacoma at the Asian Pacific American Summit. Organizational endorsers will be on hand to talk to participants alongside WUM field staff.

To further support and highlight this broad support, WUM will profile representative individuals and families on its website at .  Education materials will also be available online in multiple languages, including Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese.  Videos from community leaders and celebrities will also be available.

The following are quotes from several of the endorsing individuals and organizations:

“I have two gay sons and I’m very proud of them. They deserve the same rights and privileges as their brothers and sisters. Approving Referendum 74 will end marriage discrimination for gay and lesbian couples.”

— Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, State Representative, 46th Legislative District

“Marriage is the cornerstone of our values. It helps promote a strong and secure family. That’s why I support the freedom to marry for all – we need strong Vietnamese families.”

— Kim Le, Chair, Asian Pacific Islander Coalition Southwest Washington

“This is about love and family, but it’s also about being an American. Most of the arguments that were once used against interracial marriage are now being used by opponents of same-sex marriage. Those arguments deny the full humanity and citizenship of our fellow humans and citizens. As a person of color and the parent of a mixed-race child, I believe the fight for marriage equality is my fight too. I proudly endorse Referendum 74.”

— Eric Liu, Washington Author and Civic Entrepreneur

“It’s really as basic as the golden rule. Treating others as one would want to be treated includes ending the exclusion of marriage for gay couples who are truly committed to each other. Straight couples would never want someone telling them they couldn’t marry, and when they think about it, many say they wouldn’t want to deny what is such a special part of their lives to anyone else.”

— Representative Eric Pettigrew, State Representative, 37th Legislative District