by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
Washington State Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle (D-43), who led the effort in the Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, is getting married himself. He and his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, have revealed that they plan to wed August 10.
The ceremony is planned for the 22-year anniversary of the day they met, on a Mt. Rainier hiking trip.
Although the two men had said that they planned to marry sometime this summer, they'd not been specific until this week.
ABOUT TIME, SOME SAY
Late in the evening on December 5, 2012, hundreds of King County residents gathered in downtown Seattle at the King County Administration Building to apply for marriage licenses.
Murray and Shiosaki, however, did not get in line. Instead, they watched as the first Washington state marriage license for a same-sex couple was issued, one minute after midnight on December 6. The two men smiled and congratulated that couple and others as each received a license to wed.
Many were no doubt confused and maybe even a little concerned about this, because Murray was the chief sponsor of the marriage equality legislation and Shiosaki had joined Murray in asking the Senate to debate and ultimately vote on the proposed marriage equality bill last January.
'Marriage should be a happy time, and it's a happy night,' Murray said.
THE SECRET GETS OUT
It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for anyone interested in details of a Murray-Shiosaki wedding to receive a proper announcement. However, before the two could make such an announcement, Murray unwittingly announced the couple's engagement on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.
Sitting at his desk in Olympia, Murray noticed he could change his Facebook profile from domestic partner to 'engaged.'
When he did this, the update got posted on his Facebook wall, and comments immediately started pouring in. More than 100 people had 'liked' his status within 45 minutes, and Shiosaki called Murray directly to ask about the unplanned revelation.
The August 10 wedding happens to be four days after the August 6 primary election, in which Murray is campaigning for Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's job at City Hall.
Murray said he and Shiosaki have 'waited a long time to get married in our own state.' They plan to exchange vows at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.
AN EVENTFUL YEAR
To say that 2012 was a big year for Murray and Shiosaki is putting it mildly. Although Murray's announcement to run for mayor came in late 2012, his announcement that he intended to get married did not.
On February 1, 2012, just before the State Senate vote on marriage equality, the openly Gay Senator took the floor and acknowledged that he would soon be marrying Shiosaki.
'Those of us who support this legislation are not, and we should not be accused of, undermining family life or religious freedom,' said Murray. 'Marriage is how society says you are a family.'
Murray mentioned Shiosaki as he told his Senate colleagues before the vote that 'regardless of how you vote on this bill, an invitation will be in the mail' to their future wedding.
Weeks earlier, on January 23, 2012, Shiosaki testified before the Senate during hearings for SB 6239, otherwise known as the Marriage Equality Act.
'Ed and I have been together for more than 20 years now and through much of our time together I have tried to keep our political life separate from our private life,' said Shiosaki. 'Today I am compelled to speak out about our relationship and what marriage means to us.
'Ed and I have found over the years that sometimes it is the little things that make a strong relationship,' he continued. 'Ed and I are very different people but we have challenged each other to grow in many interesting and significant ways.
'Through my family's experience and my own experience growing up as a member of the Japanese-American community in Washington state, I have witnessed my community struggle for inclusion into the mainstream of society. I see that same struggle for recognition and inclusion with marriage no matter when or where it has been tried, history has demonstrated that separate is not equal, it never can be.
'As Ed and I begin our third decade together, we hope that this is the year we can marry.'
A WISH COMES TRUE
Murray and Shiosaki got what they asked for. The Senate went on to vote 28-21 to pass the bill, setting the stage for the House, which also passed the bill. Soon thereafter, then-Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law. And, after a public campaign to approve a referendum to keep the new law, on November 6, 2012, Washingtonians voted for the freedom to marry, becoming one of the first states in the nation to do so.
To say that Murray and Shiosaki fought for love is an understatement. Murray is credited with spearheading nearly every Gay rights, domestic partnership, and marriage equality bill in the state over the past 20 years he has spent in the House and Senate. Shiosaki stood beside him through it all.
Murray admits that he thought it might be 'a little weird' to get married so close to the primary election, but says Shiosaki really wanted to do it then.
'Over the years Michael has had to give up a lot for my schedule,' said Murray.
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