Thursday, January 5, 2012

Helluva Day in the Capital

Yesterday my partner Anne and I journeyed from Seattle to Olympia, Washington's state capital, to see history being made.  I won't drive through a monsoon for just any old reason.

The day before we'd gotten an alert from Legal Voice, the organization that fights for women's rights in the Northwest and a partner in the coalition pushing for marriage equality, that Gov. Chris Gregoire intended to deliver a speech on marriage.  Legal Voice asked Anne, who suffered the slings and arrows of inequality in the past, if she'd be willing to talk to the press, and Anne agreed.

Legal Voice expressly told us to keep mum about the governor's speech.  A few hours later, The Seattle Times blared the news.  I want it clearly understood that I'm not the one who talked.  As sorely tempted as I was to blab by blogging, I'm innocent.  A veritable picture of virtue.

Speaking of pictures, here's one I pilfered from Equal Rights Washington of the scene outside the governor's office as we waited to be let in.

I enjoyed the wait, picking out Washington LGBT luminaries like Grethe Cammermeyer, Margaret Witt, Charlene Strong, Marsha Botzer, Sen. Ed Murray and others.  I had a great chat with a rabbi from West Seattle, and when she confessed to nerves about talking to the media, I put on my press hat and did a practice interview.  By God, she was ready.

Eventually we were let in, with some of us bound for the room where the governor was to speak, and the rest of us off to the overflow room to watch the video feed.  And watch we did:

The governor gave a forceful and emotional speech.  We clapped, we laughed, and as usual, Anne cried.

Gov. Gregoire threw her full weight behind marriage equality in the Evergreen State.  "It is time, it is the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do it," she declared.  She spoke of her long wrestling match with her faith over same-sex marriage while in office, a struggle that's now over, as she told reporters, "I feel so much better today than I have for the last seven years."

When she walked into the viewing room we gave her the reception she deserved, which appeared to move her.  That was only fair, since she'd moved us.

Then, with former governors watching from their portraits, media members interviewed some of us.  This was Anne's time, and I all but hurled her at a reporter I recognized from, I think, public access.  She spoke clearly and comprehensively, while I fulfilled my role of smiling partner in the distance.  It wasn't hard to smile, because I was deeply impressed at how well she was doing.

Anne was there in part for the purpose of speaking with the press; I'm a journalist.  But guess who got pulled into Anne's next interview?  Here's a hint, via a Legal Voice photo:

Apparently I felt so turned around I decided to close my eyes.

Guess which of us reporter Bryan Johnson used in his segment on the Channel 4 5:00 news?  If you feel compelled, this is the link.  Anne thinks she looks like a doofus while I talk.  I'm still kicking myself for being ungrammatical.  "I'm idiotic, and you're illiterate," Anne summed it up this morning.

I guess that makes us the perfect couple.  We'll know pretty darn soon whether the perfect couple can marry in the state of Washington.  With Gov. Gregoire's vigorous backing, the odds just got a lot better.