Crowds greet Obama during Seattle trip (gallery)
Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
President Barack Obama and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., wave upon their arrival Thursday in Seattle. Obama was in town for fund-raising events.
President Barack Obama waves as he walks past his motorcade to greet supporters upon his arrival in Seattle on Thursday.
Obama was in Seattle for two events — one at a Madrona home and the other at the Paramount Theatre. In addition to Obama supporters, others gathered signatures outside the downtown fundraiser as part of an attempt to overturn Washington’s new same-sex marriage law. State voters likely will see one or possibly two gay marriage ballot measures this fall.
Obama’s Seattle visit was his first trip following his announcement Wednesday that he supported the right of same-sex couples to marry. As the president’s motorcade approached the private home for the early fundraiser it passed a woman and an infant with a sign thanking Obama “for standing up for my mommys!.”
Outside the Paramount, 44-year-old Teri McClain was holding a double-sided sign that also expressed gratitude to the president for “evolving on same-sex marriage.”
“He’s looking out for the good of the people, and this is what the people want,” McClain said.
Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007, and in 2009, voters passed an “everything but marriage” expansion of that law, which was ultimately upheld by voters after a referendum challenge. Earlier this year the Legislature approved gay marriage.
Opponents of the new law said this week they have more than half of the signatures they need to qualify a proposed referendum seeking to overturn the measure. Backers of Referendum 74 need 120,577 valid voter signatures.
Another effort seeking to overturn gay marriage is still ongoing. Initiative 1192 was filed in January.
Holly Teige, 37, was outside the Paramount with her partner and four of their six children. They held an American flag with rainbow stripes and a sign that said “Thank you Obama.”
“I wanted to come forward to say thank you that he’s willing to step forward with a very loud message of support in what I’m sure is a critical point in his career, effectively putting all of his political eggs in a very fragile but important basket,” Teige said.
Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Maryland legalized gay marriage this year as well, though opponents there are promising to challenge it with a ballot measure.
Voters in North Carolina on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.
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