It’s official, Referendum 74 was Approved in Washington state. I couldn’t be happier.
Although I whole-heartedly believe in the democratic process and voting, I have never actively supported a political campaign before. But this time was different. This time it affected friends of mine. This time I wanted to contribute my time and money and energy toward something Jeff and I felt passionate about. And as cheesy as it sounds, this time it was for love.
For the past two years, Ellie has gone to school with a lively boy named Callum. We learned pretty quickly that Callum had two moms, but it has only been this last year that we have started to get to know his wonderful moms, Colleen and Lee Ann. They dream of the day they can get married in their home state of Washington. They want their little boy to be able to say his parents are married.
When I first brought up the topic of marriage equality with Ellie, she already knew what it was. “That’s when two girls or two boys want to be married.” I don’t know if they talked about it in an official way at school, or if Callum was trying to educate his friends, but I loved that she said it in such a matter-of-fact way. It was such a non-issue for her. When I told her that some people thought Callum’s moms shouldn’t be allowed to marry, she said simply, “that’s silly” and went off to play. I think that’s pretty silly too.
In May, when it was obvious that this was going to be on the ballot, Colleen and Lee Ann organized the Luau for Love to raise money and awareness. It was a family event and so we brought Ellie. Although she spent most of the evening playing with her school friends, it was a great opportunity to talk to her about fairness and how our political system works.
A short while later, Colleen was hired to be the volunteer coordinator for the campaign.
In September, we were invited to another, much smaller event. This time a cocktail party at my friend Marnie’s home. We didn’t bring Ellie along (we weren’t sure how many cocktails would be flowing), but it again gave us a chance to talk to her afterwards about this important issue.
By this time the visibility of Referendum 74 was increasing, on both sides. Other Agape parents, Chad and Lisa, were asked to participate in this commercial. We saw it several times while watching TV. Ellie loved seeing Callum and Auggie on TV – it was almost magical. And every time we saw it we would gently remind her what the issue was and how it related to her friend Callum.
The final event we went to was a day at the zoo. This time, it was on a Saturday so we headed over after soccer and met up with some of the other soccer families. We all got matching t-shirts and had a great time running around the zoo with our friends.
Jack, Callum, Ellie
We heard the phone bank volunteers were sick of eating pizza each night, so we offered to bring dinner. Ellie helped us make chili, bread, and brownies for 15 people. Then she went with us to drop it off. She was feeling pretty reserved about being around all those unfamiliar people, but she understood how grateful they were that we had come.
I told her I didn’t feel comfortable being on the phones myself, but I could show up. I could cook. I found ways to help.
And honestly, I hope that’s what she gets from this experience. For things you believe in, show up and help. Your skills and energy are needed. You can make a difference.
And to all our gay and lesbian friends, Colleen and Lee Ann included: Congratulations!