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Washington (State)

Washington state House committee approves marriage equality bill

Monday, February 6, 2012
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OLYMPIA, Wash. — A House panel in the Washington state legislature on Monday advanced its version of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, placing Washington state just steps from becoming the seventh U.S. state to offer full marriage equality.

The House Judiciary committee approved the bill by a vote of 7-5 vote.

The measure now goes to the full House for a vote as early as Wednesday, where its passage is expected. The state Senate passed its version of the bill by a vote of 28-21 in a late evening session last Wednesday.

Once the state House has approved the legislation, Gov. Chris Gregoire would have five business days to sign it into law, which she has indicated she will do.

Gay and lesbian couples would then be able to wed beginning in June, unless opponents follow through on their threat to seek a ballot referendum.

A referendum cannot be filed until after the bill is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gregoire — opponents would need 120,577 signatures by June 6.

Washington has had a domestic partnership law since 2007 and an “everything but marriage” expansion of the domestic partnership law since 2009.

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