Governor Gregoire emerging as unlikely gay rights activist

May 14, 2012

OLYMPIA - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is emerging as an unlikely gay rights activist - both at home and on the national stage. Her role in helping pass a same-sex marriage law this year has made Gregoire a sought-after spokesperson for the movement.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C., Gregoire made some unusual stops. She was a keynote speaker for the Gill Foundation, a deep pocketed gay rights organization. She was also honored along with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley at a reception hosted by the national Human Rights Campaign or HRC. Both governors this year shepherded same-sex marriage bills into law.

Michael Cole-Schwartz is a spokesman for HRC. He wants straight audiences to hear Gregoire's story of how she came to support gay marriage as a Catholic, married mother of two.

"Her speaking out so eloquently really gives space for people to share that same journey and really move public opinion."

Gregoire has already taped a short video for HRC's website. She will also play a visible role in the campaign to uphold Washington's new marriage equality law. It's expected opponents will muster the signatures to put a repeal measure on the fall ballot.

There's even talk Gregoire will become a national surrogate speaker for President Obama on issues including gay rights. He recently announced his support for same-sex couples to marry.