Gay-rights activists in the audience - including several recently married couples in the front row of the House galleries - and key lawmakers paid notice. It wasn’t just that they and Democrats applauded while most Republican lawmakers kept seated.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Pedersen of Seattle, who is gay and helped pass the law upheld by R-74, said Gregoire’s contributions were huge for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for much longer than the past year’s campaign.
“This governor has done more than any governor - not just in Washington but in the history of the United States - to advance the rights for LGBT people,” Pedersen said in the House wings after the speech. He was one of the few lawmakers still around just minutes after the ceremonies ended.
And Pedersen ticked off a list of accomplishments that he gives Gregoire credit for helping to pass: a anti-bullying law, an anti-discrimination law, three installments of a domestic partnership law, the same-sex marriage law that took effect Dec. 6, and others.
“It’s really an astounding record of accomplishment,” Pedersen said.
Other gays and lesbians were on hand for the event. Among them were Lynn Grotsky and Lisa Brodoff of Lacey, <a href="http://www.theolympian.com/2012/12/03/2340694/first-couple-lisa-brodoff-lynn.html" target="_blank"><b>the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license last month in Thurston County,</b></a> retired Army and Wsashington National Guard Col. Grethe Cammermeyer who challenged the military ban on gays in 1989, and Anne Levinson, who spearheaded the defense of R-71’s domestic partnership provisions in 2009.
Gregoire’s two terms were far from certain in 2004 when it took two recounts and a court challenge to settle that she had beaten Republican Dino Rossi by 133 votes.
“It’s amazing to think what a difference that election in 2004 made and (what) if Dino Rossi had been elected - someone who supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage,” Pedersen said.
Looking ahead, he said he appreciates that Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, who is being sworn in on Wednesday, supported same-sex marriage.
He also noted that Attorney General-elect Bob Ferguson, who also is sworn in Wednesday, has said he’ll file an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act case going before the court in March.