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Washington (State)

Washington Governor announces support for gay marriage: ‘It’s time, it’s the right thing to do’

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In an announcement before an audience of activists and supporters of marriage equality, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (D), on Wednesday announced she will introduce historic legislation that if passed, would allow same-sex marriages in Washington state.

Chris Gregoire

The announcement represents a change for Gregoire — while she has supported gay and lesbian partners having the the same rights that married couples have, until today Gregoire has never specifically endorsed same-sex marriage publicly.

In fact, while running for governor in 2004, she said, “I do not believe that Washington state is ready to support gay marriage.”

“It’s time, it’s the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do it,” Gregoire said.

“I say that as a wife, a mother, a student of the law, and above all as a Washingtonian with a lifelong commitment to equality and freedom. Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage. That’s a version of the discriminatory ‘separate but equal’ argument.”

[...]

“Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families—making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment,” Gregoire said.

“For all couples, a state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”

“Throughout our history, we have fought discrimination,” Gregoire said. “We have joined together to recognize equality for racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, immigrants. Please join today to support equality again in our great state. It is the right thing to do and it is time.”

The proposal will be introduced during the legislative session that starts Monday.

Gregoire’s announcement today follows years of advocating for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

In 2006, she signed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and other areas. In 2007, Substitute Senate Bill 5336 created the state’s domestic partnership registry.

A year later, Gregoire signed House Bill 3104 which added additional rights and responsibilities relating to issues such as dissolutions, community property, estate planning, taxes, court process, conflicts of interest for public officials and guardianships.

The rights of same-sex couples in Washington state have since been expanded in a series of subsequent laws, culminating in 2009′s “everything but marriage law,” which was upheld by a public vote on Referendum 71 that fall.

Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in six states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont — and the District of Columbia.

Nine states — California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington — provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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Filed under: Washington (State)

29 more reader comments:

  1. yay

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:45pm
  2. God finally, 45 more states or so to go…..

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:46pm
  3. Four for you Washington Governor, you go Washington Governor.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:46pm
  4. AWESOME!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:46pm
  5. yea now? Elections are nearing, everybody supports gay marriage, yay.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:47pm
  6. Let’s hope she’s the first of many.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:47pm
  7. One closer to ALL FIFTY!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:47pm
  8. Funny how our rights have become political moves. Bullshit if you ask me. It’s not funny to mess with people’s lives.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:48pm
  9. woot!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:49pm
  10. Lets GO Washington :)

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:50pm
  11. FINALLY. This is so awesome! I hope soon all of America will support same sex marriage.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:51pm
  12. About time a governor steps up!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:52pm
  13. This is wonderful news!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:52pm
  14. The Goernor of Washington has concluded that the Proposition 8 case will be won by AFER and that the entire 9th District will come under marriage equality. She’s just doing this as a political ploy.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:55pm
  15. Hurray!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:05pm
  16. yes…

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:11pm
  17. Great finally

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:28pm
  18. Come On Washington Pass the Bill for same sex marriage!! I was Born here woo hoo!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:37pm
  19. I believe this was posted earlier in the course of this year on the page, but, I believe it is important for those that haven’t to give the petition a look: https://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-mi-block-hb-5039-as-it-is-an-attack-on-basic-human-rights

    Especially given that McMillin has said things such as “I’ve been somewhat active throughout the years in trying to stop some of these special-rights ordinances for homosexual behavior, and notice they’re often used to discriminate against Christians” to justify discriminating against the LGBTQ community.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:40pm
  20. Thank you ^…^

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:47pm
  21. Well past time to do right things. Sooner the better.

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:50pm
  22. Another reason I miss Seattle soooo frickin much…

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:56pm
  23. If only she was the governor of Mich- we’re stuck with mr. homophobia…….

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:28pm
  24. HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY : )))))))

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:29pm
  25. We need you in Melbourne, fL!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:35pm
  26. WHOOO HOOO!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:42pm
  27. Right on.Lets keep moving forward

    Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 10:38pm
  28. yay!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:57am
  29. This is an opportunity to reduce the number of welfare receipts. The more the State allows the marriage, the better same-sex (doesnt have to be gay or lesbian) to support one another. This way State can focus in providing needs to Elders and People with Disabillities, not just developmental disabilities. So I hope the legistators are using their heads and leave out the religon issues which is not supposed to be in the government system at all!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 11:25am