Sammamish couple hails same-sex marriage milestone

November 14, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Washington voters’ groundbreaking decision to approve same-sex marriage elicited a simple — but heartfelt — response from a Sammamish couple: thank you.

Referendum 74, buoyed by strong support in King County, authorized same-sex marriage in Washington. Dana and Sage Alixander, longtime partners married in California before Proposition 8 outlawed same-sex marriage, hailed the historic decision in Washington.

Dana Alixander offered a “collective thank you” to R-74 supporters not long after the measure inched ahead in election night results.

“We just did not want to get excited or too ahead of ourselves,” she said from the Westin Seattle, as state Democrats gathered to celebrate. “That was our major talking point to one another: Just stay calm. Don’t get excited. We don’t want to be let down.”

Dana Alixander described the wait as a “collective holding our breath” before the initial results arrived just after 8 p.m. Nov. 6. Then, as results flashed across screens at the Seattle hotel, she felt jubilation and relief.

Dana and Sage Alixander campaigned hard for voters to approve R-74 — a measure signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February. Opponents to the same-sex marriage law later gathered enough voter signatures to put the measure before the electorate.

Voters in Maine and Maryland also approved same-sex marriage measures on the November ballot. In Minnesota, voters defeated a measure to add a same-sex marriage ban to the Minnesota Constitution. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, a same-sex marriage supporter, is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples next month.

Constantine said the King County Recorder’s Office expects a large number of applicants for marriage licenses if the law indeed goes into effect Dec. 6. The office plans to open for extended hours to accommodate the demand.

“I have one of the pens Gov. Gregoire used to sign the marriage equality bill into law, and I look forward to using that same pen to personally issue the first marriage license to a same-sex couple in King County on the first day the law goes into effect, Dec. 6,” Constantine said.

R-74 opponents said the campaign to reject the measure faced challenges in Washington, due to the number of left-leaning voters in densely populated King County.

“We are fighting for a cause that is true, and beautiful, and right — the sacred institution of marriage,” Joseph Backholm, Preserve Marriage Washington chairman, said in a statement. “It’s a cause worth fighting for, and we will continue to educate citizens and policymakers on the timeless truth that real marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

Washington United for Marriage officials said the measure passed based on support in King County and key Eastern Washington counties.

“This is an historic day for Washington, an historic day for our country and, most of all, for families across the state who have dreamed of this day and the wedding celebrations to come,” said Zach Silk, Washington United for Marriage campaign manager.

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