Washington United for Marriage Announces Small Business Support

Over 325 Washington Small Businesses Endorse Freedom to Marry & Referendum 74

Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the broad coalition working to Approve Referendum 74 and defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law, today announced that 327 small businesses across the state support the campaign. At the same time, WUM launched the Small Business Captain program, a comprehensive statewide effort to engage the many small businesses which endorse the freedom to marry.

Small business captains will recruit and organize fellow merchants and business owners in their area to support Referendum 74, while working with supporting businesses to increase their level of engagement and involvement in the campaign to defend the marriage law.

The small businesses endorsing Referendum 74 run the gambit, from a shoe shop in Bellingham, to a design firm in Spokane, to a tire shop in Vancouver. These owners all share the same belief –that loving same-sex couples should be able to marry the person they love.

For example, Blue Moon Burgers is a popular gourmet burger restaurant with locations in the Fremont, Capitol Hill and South Lake Union neighborhoods of Seattle.  Here’s a video of the owner, Charlie Olson, saying supporting R74 is “the right thing to do”: http://youtu.be/uILQ1rB9u9A

“Small business people are really local entrepreneurs who are deeply connected to their communities,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk.  “They understand that supporting the freedom to marry and Referendum 74 is good for both their employees and their customers. We are so pleased to see so many of these self-starters join us and spread the word.  The support of these community leaders is invaluable in our effort to defend our marriage law.”

Here are a few other examples from across the state:

— Ben and Gretchen Knudsen own two businesses in Bellingham — Left Right Left Shoes, and Digs, a home furnishings store.  Their support for Referendum 74 is shaped by their own marriage:  “We believe marriage is about the love between two people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or religion. Love is something that we can always use more of, and recognizing love in all its forms helps us form bonds as a unified community and state.”

— Small business supporters in Vancouver include Don Orange, owner of Hoesly ECO Auto & Tire. Why is marriage equality important to him? “We’re Americans. We’re small business,” said Orange. “We’re apple pie and we believe in fairness. I don’t do this for any economic or selfish reasons. This is just the right thing to do. I think all small businesses like mine should support Referendum 74.”

— In Spokane, 42 businesses have endorsed Referendum 74, including Thinking Cap Communications and Design, an advertising and graphic design firm started by Marvo Reguindin and his partner Paul Tiesse.  “Paul and I have been together for 17 years. We believe loving, committed couples like us should have the same protections, benefits and responsibilities that married straight couples enjoy,” said Reguindin.

The WUM/Approve R74 campaign has also been endorsed by large businesses, including Alcoa, Amazon, Google, Starbucks, Microsoft, REI, Vulcan, and, earlier this week, T-Mobile. A list of all business and organizational endorsers is viewable here: http://washingtonunitedformarriage.org/coalition-partners/