Photos by Steve Shay
King County Council member Joe McDermott's Roxbury Lanes bowling party focused on marriage equality.

SLIDESHOW: Council member Joe McDermott's Roxbury Lanes party focuses on marriage equality

McDermott and Constantine on same-sex marriage: "It's a civil rights issue"


King County Council member and West Seattle resident Joe McDermott hosted his annual bowling party at Roxbury Lanes in White Center last night, May 31. He serves District 8 which includes West Seattle and Burien. He was introduced by West Seattle resident Pete Spalding who serves on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council. Also attending were King County Executive Dow Constantine, Burien Mayor Brian Bennett, other area dignitaries (see slideshow), McDermott's parents, Jim and Terri, and his domestic partner, Michael Culpepper, who he referred to in his speech as "My fiancé."

McDermott explained that while last year's bowling party focused on his reelection bid, he would now focus on marriage equality and the challenges ahead for same-sex marriage in the state of Washington. Last Feb. 8, the Washington State House passed Bill 6239 paving the way for gay marriage here. Governor Gregiore then signed the bill.

Referendum 74

However, representatives for opponents of same-sex marriage announced yesterday they have collected well over the 120,577 signatures needed to challenge Bill 6239 with a referendum, 74. That places Referendum 74 on the ballot this November. A "yes" vote approves same-sex marriage.

Two large organizations opposed are Protect Marriage Washington who say they are "dedicated to the idea that society is best served for the family and community when the marriage relationship is defined as:
Marriage= One Man + One Woman." Also there is "Preserve Marriage Washington", a coalition that advocates that "voters reject redefining marriage."

New AP Poll

However, "Washington United for Marriage", which fights for same-sex marriage, points out on its website that It was just announced that a new Associated Press poll shows voters approve of the Washington’s law extending civil marriage to same-sex couples by a 54-percent to 33-percent margin. Support by Democrats is 87-percent, and support among Independents is 52-percent for, 36-percent opposed.

DOMA ruling

Yesterday, a A federal appeals court in Boston ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional. This ruling is expected to go to the Supreme Court.

All this on the heels of President Obama's May 10 visit to Seattle just one day after he publicly affirmed support for same-sex marriage in America.

Joe McDermott

"Since the Governor signed the marriage equality bill in February, we expected the opposition would get enough signatures to get a referendum on the ballot," McDermott told the West Seattle Herald. "We've been organizing already, under the umbrella organization Washington United for Marriage to start reaching out to people. We recognize we are going to have to tell our story to people across the state why marriage matters, and the fact that marriage is really about family and commitment and every couple who is willing to make that commitment to one another should have the same legal protections under state law and that is known as 'marriage' in our state.

"I think it will be an expensive campaign on both sides," he added. "They had a pledge on one million dollars from day one, and we expect we will need to raise well over six million dollars to support marriage equality."

Dow Constantine

"I think we've reached the point in this country where we are able to take the next step in fulfilling our ideals, that all people are created equal, that everyone will be treated equally under the law," Constantine shared with the West Seattle Herald. "When our founders set out those ideals they knew we were not up to them at the time. We still had slavery for heaven sake. But, bit by bit, year by year, decade by decade, we as a nation have progressed. We've become better. We've become truer to our founding ideals in a lot of ways. This marriage equality campaign is another step in fulfilling what the founders laid out for this country even though they could not have imagined the consequences of what they were writing down themselves."

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.