Washington United For Marriage has released its second television spot supporting marriage equality in the northwestern state. The 30-second commercial features Chris Morningstar, of Seattle, speaking of her daughter, Sarah, and Sarah's partner, Cheryl Chow. Chow is a Seattle civic leader who has served on the Seattle School Board, spent 18 years as a teacher and principal, and who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.
"I'm so proud of my daughter Sarah," Morningstar said in the spot. "She and her partner, Cheryl, are just wonderful parents. When Cheryl was diagnosed with brain cancer, my heart just went out to all of them. It really hurts watching them fight this cancer. And what's just as hard, is watching what they've had to go through because they're not legally married.
"One night in the hospital, Cheryl had a seizure. She was asking for Sarah and no one called. Only marriage guarantees all couples can be there for each other when it really matters."
Zach Silk, WUM's campaign manager, said that numerous studies have found domestic partnerships and civil unions to be lacking in their ability to protect same-sex couples when they need it most. In a press release, WUM cites a 2008 New Jersey independent Civil Union Review Commission, which concluded that civil unions "invite and encourage unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children."
"If we, as Washingtonians, truly care about treating all loving couples and their families fairly, particularly in moments of their greatest need, only marriage gives families the security they want and need," said Silk. "That's why we must defend our bipartisan marriage law and make sure that voters understand that these loving, committed couples want the same thing everyone else does, and that's why we urge voters to approve Referendum 74."
Washington's Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, signed marriage equality into law in February, but opponents of the law gathered enough signatures to refer the issue to voters. On November 6, Washingtonians will be asked to vote for or against Referendum 74. A yes vote is in favor of maintaining marriage equality in the northwestern state, whereas a no vote signifies opposition to same-sex marriage.
If Washingtonians approve Referendum 74, the state would be the first in the country to affirm gay and lesbian rights at the ballot box.