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Washington state Senate committee advances marriage equality bill

Saturday, January 28, 2012
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OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state took another step closer to becoming the seventh state to offer full marriage equality as a Senate panel on Thursday advanced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.

Washington state capital building

The Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee approved the measure by a vote of 4-3 vote, sending the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as early as next week. Proponent say they already have enough votes to pass the measure both the House and the Senate.

Several amendments introduced by Senate Republicans were rejected, including one that would have required that the measure be included on the November ballot, reported the Associated Press.

Earlier this week, following the first public hearing on the issue, state Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island), who was previously undecided on the issue, announced her support for the measure, giving proponents the 25 Senate votes needed for passage.

The state House already had secured enough votes to pass the measure, and Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire publicly endorsed the measure on Jan. 4, calling it “the right thing to do.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage have already promised a referendum battle at the ballot if the Legislature passes the bill and Gregoire signs it into law.

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

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