Whitties react to the Washington legislature passing same sex marriage

Josh Goodman

The Washington State House of Representatives voted 55 to 43 on Wednesday, Feb. 8 to allow same sex marriages. This, following the senate voting in favor of same sex marriage last week and Governor Christine Gregoire’s pledge to sign the bill, makes Washington poised to be the seventh U.S. state, in addition to Washington, D.C., to allow same sex marriages. Washington could begin offering same sex marriages 90 days after the governor signs the bill into law.

“With today’s vote, we tell the nation that Washington state will no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love. We tell every child of same-sex couples that their family is every bit as equal and important as all other families in our state. And we take a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Gregoire in a statement.

Whitman students are also reacting to the news.

“I’m very proud of Washington for being able to pass this sort of legislation,” said senior Mehera Nori, co-president of Whitman’s Coalition Against Homophobia.

Nori also hoped that marriage equality would be one step on the road to full equality.

“I’m really looking for more non-discrimination policies in the workplaces, securing more rights for more non-easily assimilated queers, so people who don’t have a lot of privilege such as trans folk or queers of color or people who can’t access the benefits of marriage,” she said. “I think this is a great first step, but I hope it goes farther than this.”

Sophomore Sean Mulloy was also excited about same sex marriage.

“The passage in the house in Washington is really exciting,” he said. “I think that it represents a tremendous victory for people speaking for equal rights for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people here in the state of Washington as well as for the nation at large.”

Senior Autumn Knutson also expressed initial excitement.

“My first thought is that I think it is wonderful that we are having more equal rights . . . and I think it’s wonderful that we’re moving toward a world with more equality,” she said.

However, opponents’ vows to overturn same sex marriage through a ballot initiative present a struggle for Knutson.

“I think I can see both sides coming from a conservative upbringing but also having gone to Whitman the past couple years,” she said. “I think that the profound meaning of religion and faith in the conservative world is something that a lot of Whitties don’t understand or try to understand. Or maybe they try to, but I feel that I’m in the minority to try to empathize and in some cases agree with the viewpoint of religious views.”

Nori was optimistic that the tide of popular opinion has leaned toward favoring same sex marriage.

“I think that the people who are putting these laws and policies into place have kind of reached a point [where] you know which side you want to be on,” she said. She added that she especially expected the law to stand “because Washington is always known for its kind of liberal stance.”

Assuming the same sex marriage stands, Mulloy thinks he may receive some additional wedding invitations.

“I know that Whitman has a reputation for having a high amount of marriages between Whitties, so I guess now Whitties who are in same sex relationships could get married after graduating from Whitman and what not, which would be kind of different than it was.”