Vancouver Mayor Endorses Freedom to Marry and Other Equality News

Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Vancouver mayor Tim Leavitt will announce on Saturday that he supports the freedom to marry and believes voters should approve Referendum 74.

“I believe in treating others in the way we want to be treated, and that includes allowing civil marriage for truly committed gay and lesbian couples,” Leavitt said. “All of us should have the freedom to marry.” As volunteers have been talking to voters at their doors and on their phones this fall, more and more Washingtonians are reaching the same conclusion.

Saturday at 4pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church (4505 E. 18th St., Vancouver, Washington), Leavitt, along with a business leader, will sign a statement in support of the freedom to marry. Afterwards, Leavitt will join volunteers with the Approve 74 campaign on a canvass, talking to voters at their doorsteps and encouraging them to support the freedom to marry.

Nearly 300 mayors from cities and towns – large and small – with diverse geographic, ethnic and political backgrounds have endorsed the freedom to marry. The list includes the mayors of America’s four largest cities – Michael Bloomberg of New York, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, and Annise Parker of Houston. The list also includes mayors from 15 cities in Washington, including Seattle, Olympia and Tacoma. View the full list of signers here.

In other Washington State marriage equality news, Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the coalition working to approve Referendum 74, Friday decried an attack by opponents as a “new low” by referring to a lesbian couple’s real-life trauma featured in a television ad to lunch meat. At the same time, WUM released testimonials from two leading health care professionals supporting R74 and confirming that the couple’s story is neither unique nor surprising.

Angie Buysse and Cynthia Per-Lee of Seattle faced their worst nightmare when their domestic partnership was not regonized as one of them faced emergency surgery. According to Per-Lee, the hospital nurse “refused to tell me what was happening and how serious things had gotten” as Buysse was in surgery and faced complications. The ad closes with Per-Lee saying, “Only marriage guarantees that all couples can be there for each other when it really matters.” See the ad here: http://youtu.be/SDwphILTP8g.

“Unfortunately, what happened to Cyntha Per-Lee and Angie Buysse is not an isolated incident. There is a lot of confusion around what full family access means under a domestic partnership. The truth is we hear from patients on a fairly regular basis who have faced similar situations,” said Dr. Desi Bailey, Hospital Chief of Staff, Group Health.

“What happened to the two of us should never happen to anyone,” said Cynthia Per-Lee. “Being in the hospital, sitting outside of surgery and not knowing what’s going on with the love of your life is a special kind of terror and it would never have happened if we were married because only marriage is unquestioned and tells everyone we are family. There isn’t a gay couple we know who, at a minimum, doesn’t fear this exact circumstance.”

“No family’s health care, least of all in an emergency, should ever be more traumatic because they are not treated as family. Only marriage makes sure that happens and that’s why the family physicians believes that approving Referendum 74 is the right thing to do for all Washington families,” said Dr. Anne Montgomery, President of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians.

“Our opponents have clearly hit a new low, attacking this couple and comparing their true story to slices of baloney,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk. “They want to make this about a technicality when what we’re talking about is peoples’ real lives. And everyone knows what marriage is, and it’s why no married couple or family ever has to face this added burden or trauma in times of crisis.”

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