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UPDATED: President Obama endorses marriage equality ballot measures in Washington, Maine and Maryland

Referendum 74 Washington marriage

By Scottie Thomaston and Jacob CombsGoal Thermometer

Updated as of 6:00 pm Eastern to reflect Maine endorsement and 8:05 Eastern to reflect Maryland endorsement

The Obama campaign made a flurry of announcements today pertaining to the four marriage equality ballot measures that will appear on the November ballot, formally endorsing Referendum 74 in Washington, Question 1 in Maine and Question 6 in Maryland, all of which would grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.  The campaign had already spoken out in April against Minnesota’s Marriage Amendment, which would amend the state’s constitution to forbid marriage equality.

In Washington, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported the following statement today from Paul Bell, the Washington Press Secretary for Obama for America:

“While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. Washington’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Washington couples equally, and that is why the President supports a vote to approve Referendum 74.”

That statement matched one noted in the Portland Press Herald and made by Michael Czin, OFA’s Northeast regional press secretary, which began with the same language and then went on to read, “The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.”  Tonight, via email, Maryland’s marriage equality campaign also announced the president’s endorsement with the following quote from Obama campaign spokesman Frank Benenati: “Maryland’s same-sex marriage law would treat all Maryland couples equally, and that is why the president supports Question 6.”

In April, Metro Weekly covered the following statement made by the campaign regarding the Minnesota Marriage Amendment by OFA Minnesota Communications Director Kristin Sosanie:

“[T]he Minnesota ballot initiative … would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples — and that’s why the President does not support it.”

President Obama has weighed in before against efforts to ban marriage equality, most recently in North Carolina against Amendment 1. And earlier this year, of course, he announced his personal support for the right of same-sex couples to marry. But today’s announcements marks the first time he has announced support for an initiative to approve marriage equality.

Washington United for Marriage’s campaign manager, Zach Silk, issued the following statement today regarding the president’s endorsement:

“President Obama support for marriage reflects what’s happening in WA and across the country. As more people, and more voters, realize that only marriage fully protects and supports families, they move towards supporting marriage for same-sex couples and approving Referendum 74. “We’re now in the home stretch, mobilizing thousands of volunteers with the largest ground game in Washington ballot history. We feel momentum is on our side, and having the President weigh in on approving Referendum 74 puts an extra gust of wind in our sails.”

These announcements by the Obama campaign demonstrate the President’s confidence that marriage equality is a winning issue for him and for Democrats, even in a close presidential race.  That alone is a sign of great progress and a mark of just how significantly the politics surrounding marriage equality has shifted.

What you can do to pass marriage equality in Washington:

Goal Thermometer

1. Contribute to the campaign to approve marriage equality in Washington, via ActBlue.

2. Volunteer to make calls to voters in Washington.

3. Sign up to travel to Washington and help get out the vote! Courage Campaign is arranging out-of-state caravans and travel assistance is available.


  • 1. Steven  |  October 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Apparantly the same statement has also just been issued in Maine! Now just waiting on Maryland!

  • 2. jpmassar  |  October 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    From email I received:

    PORTLAND – President Obama today announced his support for Question 1, which would allow same-sex couples to receive a marriage license while also protecting religious freedom.

    In a statement, Michael Czin, northeast regional press secretary for the president, said: “While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. The president believes same-sex couples should be treated equally and supports Question 1.

  • 3. Seth from Maryland  |  October 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

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  • 4. Seth from Maryland  |  October 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you President Obama , in 2 days i will vote for another 4 years an equality in my state of Maryland, we are now in the final days folk, its time to go in for the win

  • 5. Fr. Bill  |  October 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Part of the baptismal covenant in the Episcopal prayerbook is the promise "to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being." Right on, Mr. President!

    And where is Mitt Romney on this? Piously trying to take away my marriage by a Constitutional Amendment enshrining inequality into our Constitution.

    For me, as an American and a Christian, the choice is clear.

  • 6. Steve the Second  |  October 26, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Mormons promise to do everything they can to make the Mormon church richer and more powerful. And they are allowed to lie to that end. They call it "lying for the lord"

  • 7. Deeelaaach  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    As a Mormon, I have to say that not all Mormons – and not all Christians – believe in Lying for the Lord. As an aside, it's not something I was ever taught – though apparently some of the same people that taught me seem to have no problem lying.

  • 8. jpmassar  |  October 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I think I saw a tweet saying the President had endorsed Maryland, and a no vote in MN as well. But this needs to be verified.

  • 9. Straight Ally #3008  |  October 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    What's this strange feeling? Could it be…hope? Hope that we'll win in all four states? I'm afraid to embrace it, but at the very least I don't think the losing streak will finally be broken, somewhere. And the antis know that that's the tipping point, and there's essentially no more states to capture after that, just an interval until DOMA falls and there is a modern version of Loving v. Virginia.

  • 10. Gregory in SLC  |  October 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I'm with you!

  • 11. Seth from Maryland  |  October 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    did you see the new poll out in MINN? , it looks like our side is starting to get stronger , however im not saying anything lol i dont want to jinx us lol however im hoping next week flys by

  • 12. Seth from Maryland  |  October 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    and yep 2013 could be a big year for marriage equality Delaware, illinois,Hawaii, Rhode island, maybie New Jersey and New Mexico if we can overcome the vetos and possible Minnesota if we beat the Amendment and flip state goverment, But first we got worry about the states in 2012

  • 13. Gregory in SLC  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Minnesota…wouldn't THAT be something!

  • 14. Sagesse  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Obama's announcement of support for marriage equality in all four referenda might just be better than any question that could have been asked and answered in the Presidential debates.

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