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posted Friday, September 28, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 39

Two weekends, two rallies
As a crucial election nears, activists take to the streets for marriage equality

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

It's getting down to the wire. In just two weeks Washingtonians will begin to receive their ballots in the mail. The 2012 general election will see voters decide if Obama can hold on to the presidency, if the freedom to marry comes to Washington state, and if Jay Inslee has enough support to best Rob McKenna for governor. In other words, now, more than ever, your vote is needed.

ARE YOU REGISTERED?
To avoid any confusion that you or any one of your friends or family might have, SGN staff writer Rick McKinnon compiled the following information:

Register to vote at www.myvote.wa.gov. Mail-in voter registration forms can also be obtained in person at city and county public libraries and county election offices around the state. For more information on the 2012 election, visit www.vote.wa.gov.

The deadline for online and mail-in voter registration as well as changes of address and other updates is Monday, October 8. (Because that happens to be Columbus Day, a federal holiday, if you are planning to mail in your voter registration, you should do so no later than Saturday, October 6, before the last mailbox pickup time.)

Because Washington State has a vote-by-mail system, it is important to submit changes of address to ensure you receive your ballot in the mail. If you have not submitted a change of address by October 8, you can still vote, but you will need to pick up your ballot from your previous address or contact your county elections office for information on other voting options.

The final deadline for new (in-person only) Washington State voter registration is Monday, October 29. After October 8, the only option to register to vote in Washington State is to go in person to your county elections office. The King County Elections Office is located at 919 S.W. Grady Way, Renton, WA 98057. The Snohomish County Elections Office is located at 3000 Rockefeller Ave., Suite 505, Everett, WA 98201. The Pierce County Elections Office is located at 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma, WA 98409. For other county locations contact the Washington State Elections Office at (360) 902-4180.

The 18-day mail-in voting period for the 2012 General Election is October 19 to November 6. Ballots must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, November 6. If you mail your ballot on that day, be sure to do so before the last mailbox pickup time. Mailing it earlier is strongly recommended. Your county elections office can also provide you with locations where you can drop off your ballot in person.

The November 6 general election has several important candidates and issues on the ballot, including president of the United States, governor and attorney general of Washington, Referendum 74 to Approve Marriage Equality, and Initiative 502, to legalize and regulate marijuana.

For more information, contact the Washington State Elections Office at (360) 902-4180 or 1-800-448-4881 (voter hotline).

MARCH FOR MARRIAGE
So now that you're registered to vote, it's time to show support for your community. One of the best ways to do that is by joining one or both of the Approve Referendum 74 marches and rallies scheduled for this weekend and the next.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
This Sunday, September 30, members of several church congregations in Northwest Seattle will march down Greenwood and Phinney Avenues to show support for marriage equality. Participants will gather at Woodland Park United Methodist Church at North 78th Street and Greenwood Avenue North. The walk will begin at 12:30 p.m., proceeding 18 blocks south to St. John United Lutheran Church at North 55th Street and Phinney Avenue North.

'The public perception is often that the religious community is opposed to Gay marriage,' said the Rev. Carol Jensen, pastor of St. John United Lutheran, 'but there are many of our churches who have been welcoming same-gendered couples for years and we look forward to the day that we can celebrate their marriages.'

St. John United Lutheran has officially endorsed the approval of Referendum 74.

The Rev. Nancy Yount, pastor of Woodland Park United Methodist, added, 'Our congregation has been a long-time supporter of the full inclusion of Gays and Lesbians in the life of the church, including those serving as clergy. We are delighted to show our support for marriage equality in this public way.'

Other official sponsors of the walk include the Broadview Community United Church of Christ and St. Paul's United Church of Christ, but members of other faith communities will also be participating. Sponsors invite anyone who supports marriage equality to join in the event.

For more information contact the Rev. Carol Jensen at revcjensen@gmail.com or (425) 422-5494, or the Rev. Nancy Yount at woodlandparkumc@gmail.com or (206) 784-6969.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6
On Saturday, October 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Social Outreach Seattle (SOSea) will hold its official March for Marriage to Approve Referendum 74, a public march from Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill to Westlake Park in downtown Seattle, with rallies at both locations.

This event will be a passionate, non-violent, uplifting march and rally to thank all who support marriage equality and to remind everyone to vote to Approve Referendum 74.

SOSea feels it is important for the LGBTQ and Allied communities to come as you are (bring signs, banners, face paint, costumes, pride flags, Approve R-74 placards, etc.) and represent that you support the freedom to marry in Washington state and that you will vote to Approve Referendum 74 in November.

The day's agenda is as follows:

11 - 11:55 a.m.: Marchers assemble in Cal Anderson Park. The Rainbow City Marching Band will perform.

11:30 a.m. - noon: RALLY #1 with Rep. Jamie Pedersen confirmed as speaker.

Noon - 12:35 p.m.: SOSea will lead a good old-fashioned march from Cal Anderson to Westlake Park. Along the way marchers will chant, wave their flags, and so on.

12:35 - 2 p.m.: RALLY #2 with Joshua Friedes, Marsha Botzer, George Bakan, and many more.

This is an all-ages, all-inclusive, welcoming public event.

For more information, look up the SOSea March for Marriage Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/events/361479900595906, or e-mail socialoutreachseattle@gmail.com.



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