by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Experienced political consultant Zach Silk has been hired to serve as the campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, the coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and businesses working together to secure civil marriage in 2012 for loving, committed Gay and Lesbian couples in Washington state.
According to officials, Silk, who is a straight ally and is a self-proclaimed 'happily married man with two kids,' has a range of organizing, communication, and state legislative experience earned as an environmental advocate and as a campaign manager in Washington state.
'I've been working in progressive politics most of my career,' Silk, 36 years old and a Washington resident since 2001, told Seattle Gay News. 'I've always been interested in striving for positive social change.'
He said that, by accepting the position of campaign manager, he has been 'given the opportunity to make a big difference in pursuing marriage equality for Washington state.'
In short, Silk said, 'I'm very excited to join this movement.'
Silk said that he believes in same-sex marriage because, 'at its core, civil marriage helps build strong families. Love transcends everything else in life.'
The leadership of the main coalition partners that make up Washington United for Marriage approached Silk, who says he is very happy to get to work managing the campaign and has already hit the ground running.
Currently, Silk told SGN, 'We are putting together the kind of support necessary to pass a bill out of Olympia.'
But most of the energy in the campaign will be focused on grassroots support, Silk said. 'We need to work with communities of faith, business owners, and all of our allies to provide enough pressure on legislators and get them to do the right thing.'
As it stands now, a marriage equality bill has enough votes in the House, but may run into problems in the Senate, where, according to officials, the Democrats are a few votes shy, which is why Silk told us it is 'important for your readers to go to our website (www.washingtonunitedformarriage.org) and contact their legislators.'
Beyond that, says Silk, members of the LGBT and allied communities can continue to tell their stories to friends, family, and coworkers.
'Marriage equality in Washington state is a reality in 2012,' he continued. 'But it is not going to be an easy fight. Our opponents will be in full force. However, we can win and there is a great initial effort here and it will only get better over time.'
Silk was deputy campaign manager for Governor Chris Gregoire's 2008 reelection effort and campaign manager for U.S. Congressional candidate Darcy Burner in 2006. Prior to that, he was the political director for Washington Conservation Voters.
More recently, he has turned his attention to business and entrepreneurship. He founded Kila Ventures, a technology company, in 2010.
Silk holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Washington.
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