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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Washington State Passes Equal Marriage Bill

The Seattle Times reports:
Legislation legalizing gay marriage is on its way to the governor after passing the state House by a 55-43 vote.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who supports the measure and watched as lawmakers voted, has five days to sign it after the bill arrives. She hasn't set a date yet.

There was never any doubt the legislation would be approved in the House. More than 50 lawmakers announced support for the bill before it came up for a vote.

The biggest hurdle was the state Senate, which has conservative Democrats opposed to the measure. Even there, it passed last week with a 28-21 vote.
However, antigay activists have promised to gather enough signatures to force the issue to be placed on a ballot this November, so the implementation of the law may be delayed pending the outcome of the referendum.

Washington state enacted a broad domestic-partnership law in 2007.  When same-sex marriages are performed there, Washington will be the seventh state (plus the District of Columbia) currently allowing such unions.

Bonus: In an emotional speech during yesterday's House debate, Republican state representative Maureen Walsh explains why she voted in favor of marriage equality, one of only two Republicans to do so.

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