Sen. Edward Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen
By Suzanne J. Thomas
Sen. Edward Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen receive the 2012 Friend of the Legal Profession Award for their historic efforts to gain passage of marriage equality legislation in Washington.
They are powerful friends of the legal profession - not just in Washington - but also as national leaders seeking legal equality for all. Their passionate work led to the personal evolution and journeys of many legislators and the governor in support of marriage equality, and undoubtedly influenced President Obama's momentous decision to do the same.
As expressed by Murray, "In a 17-year effort to pass marriage equality legislation in Washington, I have been inspired by the thoughtfulness and compassion shown by people of all walks of life as they consider such a deeply personal issue. President Obama sincerely considered the real issues faced by loving, committed gay and lesbian couples and concluded that America's highest ideals are best served by justice, and justice is best served by true equality for us all, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation."
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, recently noted, "Ed's and Jamie's skillful, passionate, and indefatigable leadership was indispensable to our freedom-to-marry victory in Washington, a victory we must now work hard to defend on the November ballot."
Murray, an Aberdeen native, worked as a paralegal for Preston Gates & Ellis and served as a legislative assistant to former Seattle City Council Member Martha Choe. He has been a member of the Washington Legislature for 15 years, representing the 43rd District.
Elected to the Senate in 2006, where he chairs the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Murray had served 10 years in the House of Representatives. In 2007, Murray introduced and led the effort to pass Washington's historic domestic partnership law. A Leadership Tomorrow graduate, Murray has received numerous accolades and awards for his work in a number of areas, including transportation, civil rights, education, healthcare and the environment.
Pedersen, a Puyallup native and a former Eagle Scout, earned his law degree from Yale. He was a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. He was a lawyer with K&L Gates and its predecessor, Preston Gates & Ellis, for his entire legal career until accepting a position in May as vice president and general counsel at McKinstry.
Pedersen was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 representing the 43rd District, and is chair of the Judiciary Committee. He, too, was instrumental in passage of the domestic partnership law.
He served for seven years on the national Board of Directors of Lambda Legal, including two as co-chair. He was Lambda's lead volunteer lawyer on the state's same-sex marriage case - Andersen v. King County.
He has sung in the Seattle Men's Chorus since 1996, is a Leadership Tomorrow graduate, and speaks Russian and Polish.
Senator Murray lives with his partner of 20 years, Michael Shiosaki. Representative Pedersen lives with his partner, Eric Cochran Pedersen, and their four young sons, including a set of triplets. They each look forward to marrying the loves of their lives.