A large group of students hold up their cups of sparkling cider and toast to equal marriage for all.
Eagle Pride celebrated the approval of Referendum 74, the act that allows for same sex marriage. Voters approved the referendum 52 to 47 percent. Opponents of same sex marriage officially conceded Nov. 8, according to the Seattle Times.
The celebration was part of Eagle Pride’s normally scheduled club meeting in Monroe Hall. Attendees stood in a large circle, stated their names and said a one word ice-breaker that described how they felt about Referendum 74 passing.
Ryan Heath, Eagle Pride historian, previously said during Eastern’s Rock the Vote event that he wanted to vote because Referendum 74 was the biggest issue. It was his responsibility for the future to vote. After the referendum passed, he said he was relieved.
“I was nervous the whole time leading up to it and that entire day,” he said. “I was numb while watching the news until the results started coming up.”
Alex Laugen attended the celebration. He said the results did not hit home until he was listening to the radio.
“That song, ‘Chapel of Love,’ by Elton John came on and when I heard the line, ‘Because we’re going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married,’ it hit me. I couldn’t stop smiling,” he said.
Attendees also included Terry Hall, a pastor with Cheney United Methodist Church.
Sandy Williams, Pride Center coordinator, said people like Terry Hall are part of the community support that has shared their joy with Eagle Pride.
“People on staff have been approaching me all day,” she said.
Williams also noted the cake supplied for the celebration was decorated in an array of colors without being asked.
“Even the cake lady was excited,” Williams said.
“bob” Maureen, host for Queer Sounds, also attended. She told her story of where she came from, her struggles with Brigham Young University in the early 1990s and her successes with being an open lesbian working with the Girl Scouts and working with youth around the country.
Growing up in a Mormon community and being lesbian, “bob” said, “It takes a lot of courage to be open about yourself.”
“bob” said she was going to work with Pride to make their regular meetings more inclusive from the beginning of each meeting so newcomers are not left out.
Along with cake, attendees were asked to sign a welcome card for the Rev. Happy Watkins, who, according to Williams, had thrown his support in for Referendum 74 and received backlash.
Messages included praise and appreciation for Watkins’s support.
The celebration also included a speech in the style of the film “Braveheart.” Rebeckah Largent adapted the famous Mel Gibson speech to fit the election while wearing blue face paint and waving a makeshift sword.
Members who phone banked, stayed at the designated table outside the PUB and did other activities to bring awareness to the cause were applauded for their work.
Williams said it was because of the members of Pride who took their time to campaign for the referendum that the measure was approved.
“You can look at the breakdown of the state and see how counties voted, and you know Spokane is very red. But if you look, there’s a little blue dot … that’s Cheney. It feels good … knowing the school is an oasis,” said Williams.
Evan Knudson, vice president of Eagle Pride, said he was worried when the original bill was contested and went to a majority vote, but since it passed he said he was really glad.
“To relate to our ice-breaker: hopeful, ecstatic, amazed,” he said.