New Washington United For Marriage Ad Tells of Couple’s Struggle to Be Recognized as Family in Hospital Crisis

In the second statewide television ad by Washington United for Marriage (WUM) which begins airing in the Seattle market tomorrow, a mother shares the story of her daughter’s struggles to tend to her dying life partner because they are not married. The ad will run on broadcast in the Seattle and Spokane markets and statewide on cable.

Chris Morningstar of Seattle tells the story of her daughter, Sarah, and her partner, Cheryl Chow, a former Seattle City Council member who is now dying of brain cancer.  Chow, 66, is a beloved Seattle civic leader who also served four years on the Seattle School Board, 18 years as a teacher and principal, and 47 years as a participant and adult leader of Seattle Chinese Community Club’s girls drill team. Chow has been in a loving, committed relationship with her partner, Sarah, for 10 years and they have a four-year-old daughter.

Says Chris Morningstar in the ad: “I’m so proud of my daughter Sarah. She and her partner, Cheryl are just wonderful parents.  When Cheryl was diagnosed with brain cancer, my heart just went out to all of them.  It really hurts watching them fight this cancer, and what’s just as hard, is watching what they’ve had to go through because they’re not legally married.

“One night in the hospital Cheryl had a seizure, she was asking for Sarah and no one called.  Only marriage guarantees that all couples can be there for each other when it really matters.”

Here’s a link to the new ad:

Zach Silk, WUM’s campaign manager, pointed to state-sanctioned studies that have found that domestic partnerships or civil unions are flawed substitutes for civil marriage which protects couples and families in their greatest time of need.

For example, after New Jersey enacted civil unions, in 2008, an independent Civil Union Review Commission issued a report of urgency for equality, arguing that the civil union act “invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.”

A commission in Vermont drew similar conclusions in 2008, nearly a decade after it passed its civil union law. Tom Little, the chair of the Vermont Commission on Family Recognition & Protection, said, “Providing statutory access to marriage would be a clearer and more direct statement of full equality by the state, a statement of full inclusion of its gay and lesbian residents.” Vermont now has the freedom to marry.

“If we, as Washingtonians, truly care about treating all loving couples and their families fairly, particularly in moments of their greatest need, only marriage gives families the security they want and need,” said Silk. “That’s why we must defend our bipartisan marriage law and make sure that voters understand that these loving, committed couples want the same thing everyone else does and that’s why we urge voters to approve Referendum 74.”