Kate Beck of Shoreline is in a committed lesbian relationship with her partner and they have two children, including her son who will start kindergarten at Meridan Park Elementary School.
On Tuesday night, Beck spoke out in favor of Referendum 74 which would allow gay marriage to be legally recognized in the state of Washington at the Shoreline City Council meeting.
She talked about the importance of having her union recognized for the rights it ensures her family but also for the understanding it would engender on the playground when she is talking to other moms. When it comes time to introduce her partner, the person she loves and hopes to grow old with, she doesn't want to pause and hestitate.
"For me marriage equality is about words and playground understanding," she said.
Mayor Keith McGlashan, who is openly gay and single, pointed out that the 2010 Census shows that more and more gay couples are moving from big cities like Seattle in suburbs like Shoreline. He also noted his work on the issue as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Local Officals Committee with the National League of Cities and the fact gay marriage is part of the Democratic Party platform this year.
"I didn't think this would happen in my lifetime," he said.
The Council voted 6-0, with Councilmember Chris Roberts excused to be at the Democratic National Convention, to support Referendum 74.
All the Councilmembers spoke out, some very emotionally about their support for the referendum.
Councilmember Doris McConnell said she has gay relatives and mentioned the hardship of being in the closet and said supporting the referendum to relieve some of that presure.
McConnell stated she is a deeply religious person and supporting gay marriage was a "no-brainer."
Councilmember Chris Eggen said when he was in the Air Force during the 1960s and was stationed in Alaska, a military member there was outed and ostracized and harrassed for the entire year the man was there.
"I did not like it then and I do not like it now," Eggen said, choking up.
Arthur Allen, who grew up in Mukilteo, and now serves in the Merchant Marine said the fact Washington is willing to support gay marriage is "an encouraging sign of respect."
He said when he came out to his fellow sailors, it gave him an opportunity to help others struggling with expectations of masculinity, and legalizing gay marriage allows, "the highest expression of love between men."