Chris Gregoire Reflects on a Marriage Milestone



Do you believe opposing groups will be successful in putting a referendum on the ballot?

Probably, but I would venture it may very well come from outside sources rather than from within my state. We have signature gathering where you can be paid, so I suspect there very well may be money coming in from outside the state to do that.

But I’m not really afraid. We started with anti-discrimination, moved to domestic partnership, moved to the ballot, and now this is our final step towards equality. So I think the people of my state have been on the same journey that I’ve been on.

Prior to your announcement on the bill last month, you spoke with Seattle archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who opposed the bill and asked Catholics in the state to lobby against it. Have you spoken with him since you signed it?

He called, I wasn’t here to take the call, my chief of staff did, and he expressed appreciation for the work that was done to protect and honor religious freedom in the state. I have had a very good and civil relationship with the archbishop here on this subject, so I’m very thankful and appreciative of him recognizing what we did in the bill, what I felt was important for that faith and any other faith that felt similarly, which is to respect their religious freedom.

Are you still seeking to speak with Gov. Christie in New Jersey on this issue as his state also weighs a marriage equality bill?

At the end of January, I wrote Gov. Christie a letter — I’ve gotten to know him through my work at the National Governors Association. And I shared with him the fact that I’d been a governor now for almost eight years, and I’ve dealt with this subject all eight years. And yes, I was struggling with the fact that I was both governor and Catholic. But I had reached a point where I felt good about where I had culminated my journey. I gave him a copy of the remarks [at the press conference introducing the bill], and I invited him to give me a call to talk it through. The Senate in New Jersey now has stood up on the issue, the Assembly will stand up soon. And then I’m going to reach out to them to see if he’d like to talk about it. I’d like him to consider whether he could share with the state of New Jersey a similar kind of pride that I saw yesterday.

Someone shouted out during the signing, “Do not betray Christ.” But it sounds to me that you see this law as a way of honoring your faith, not betraying it. As a Catholic, how have you come to terms with your faith and your support for marriage equality?

My faith is, to myself, my husband, and my two daughters, very important. And I really do believe that my faith is about the less fortunate, the minority, the immigrants, the poor. While I respect the doctrine of my faith and the sacrament of marriage, I believe I stand proudly with what is the fundamental underpinning of my faith, which is that I respect all people, and I will lift them up the best I can.