Washington United for Marriage to Launch $5 Million Ad Campaign in September

Photo by Julie Cortez, PQ Monthly.
By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

Washington United for Marriage is preparing to launch a $5 million television ad campaign in September to help pass Referendum 74, according to the Associated Press.

“We’ve always believed that we had to have a direct conversation with voters about the issue and this is the beginning of that dialogue,” Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage, told the AP Monday. “We’re excited to begin this next phase of the campaign.”

The ad campaign, which does not yet have a firm launch date, has been made possible thanks in part to a $2.5 million donation from Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie — the largest campaign contribution to date.

The opposition to Ref. 74, led by a group called Preserve Marriage Washington, told the AP it also hopes to put out television ads but had no details to offer. The group has so far raised $471,000 to WUM’s $6 million.

But it’s not just business leaders, or even Washingtonians, who are stepping up to the plate. In the current issue of PQ Monthly, Gregg Moreland (community outreach co-chair for the Human Rights Campaign Portland Steering Committee), explains why he is engaged in the fight for marriage equality in Washington:

This matters to us because what is good for Washington also benefits Oregon.

If you recall, Basic Rights Oregon has been working very hard over the last several years to overturn the constitutional amendment in Oregon banning marriage equality. This will require a ballot measure and that could be an even larger campaign than the one currently underway in Washington.

If the referendum in Washington is approved by the voters, that success will benefit all other states facing future ballot measures. Oregon will benefit from the success in Washington when we, hopefully, go to the ballot in two years.

Also in the August issue of PQ, Drew Griffin, lead organizer for Equality Southwest Washington and campaign manager for Approve Ref. 74, encourages Oregonians to get involved in the campaign:

“With Washington being Oregon’s closest neighbor, we need their help raising money as well as canvassing and phone banking. It is understood that Basic Rights Oregon wants to challenge Oregon’s marriage law in 2014 and they will have a greater opportunity for success if Washington is an equality state,” Griffin says. “The fight for marriage equality in Oregon is does not start in 2014, it’s starting right here in Washington and the more people from Oregon get accustom[ed] to working toward this equality goal, the better chance they will have for victory in 2014. I want Oregon residents to know this is their fight, too, and if they want a state that does not discriminate under the law, a state that sees all people in the state as equal, and help change the political landscape in our country, now is the time to get involved.”

Further evidence that not being able to vote on the referendum does not preclude participation is the following video by 8-year-old Vancouver resident Emma, the winner of WUM’s “Why Marriage Matters” video contest.