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Washington (State)

Washington state Senate approves marriage equality bill

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Senate on Wednesday evening voted 28-21 in favor of SB 6239, a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.

The bill, garnering three more votes than the required 25, passed with bipartisan support of 24 Democrats and four Republicans.

The bill now moves to the House, where it already has enough support to pass.

Lacey All, Chairperson of Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations working to advance marriage equality in Washington state, released the following statement within minutes of the Senate adjournment for the evening:

“We thank Majority Leader Brown, Sen. Murray and the bipartisan coalition of senators who stood with us today in the name of equality. ”

The overwhelming support we’re seeing from businesses, labor, faith communities and people all across the state is a testament to the momentum of this movement and sensibilities of Washingtonians.

“Volunteers from every part of the state have contributed thousands of hours of their time to make today possible, and we thank them for their commitment to this issue.”

Senate Republicans introduced a series of amendments, which passed, that would ensure protections for religious bodies, churches, and institutions — including affiliated child adoption and fostering agencies — that would protect them from charges of bias or discrimination for refusing to sanctify, solemnise, or otherwise embrace same sex marriage.

An amendment to put the legislation on the November ballot was defeated after Sen. Lisa Brown (D-Spokane) reminded colleagues that the purpose of representational democracy was to prevent minorities’ civil liberties being infringed and voted on by the majority.

Following the vote, amid cheering Senators, a motion was made without objection to to immediately advance the bill to the state’s House of Represenatives for its consideration — a vote in the House could occur as early as next week, and supporters are confident there are enough votes for passage.

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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42 more reader comments:

  1. Yay!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:12pm
  2. Yay!!! Whoot whoot

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:13pm
  3. ITS ABOUT DAMN TIME

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:13pm
  4. Yay :)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:14pm
  5. Hell, yeah!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:15pm
  6. yes!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:17pm
  7. Yay! I am so proud of WA, my state I live in.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:24pm
  8. Yay! Good news!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:25pm
  9. Wonderful news!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:25pm
  10. yeah baby hell yeah

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:27pm
  11. I live in Washington!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:30pm
  12. One state at a time!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:31pm
  13. Proud of Washington State!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:36pm
  14. Yes! :’)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:43pm
  15. My friend went down to Olympia to watch the vote! He said it was amazing!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:52pm
  16. <3 hell yeah

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:54pm
  17. That’s awesome! <3

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:59pm
  18. take the names of the politicians that voted against equal rights. and vote them out

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 9:59pm
  19. Sanity and equality will prevail in Washington State!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:00pm
  20. finally

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:03pm
  21. AWESOME Way to go…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:03pm
  22. This is such good news!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:04pm
  23. A state in the right direction

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:11pm
  24. yay for my state. can’t wait until I can get married to my baby

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:13pm
  25. YAYYY!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:14pm
  26. you mean people get to be legally married even if they’re GAY? gee what a concept, I’m stunned

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:34pm
  27. AWESOME!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:35pm
  28. From the opposite side of the country, CONGRATS WASHINGTON STATE FROM YOUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE GREAT STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS! YAAAAY!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:42pm
  29. yay Im even more happy cuz me and my partner want to move there already and that gives us even more reason to move there!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 10:55pm
  30. Wooooohoooooo that is all =)

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:04pm
  31. wtg WA… used to live there, have lots of peeps that will be happy!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:05pm
  32. From the UK at. 6am, whohooooo! Congratulations!! X

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:17pm
  33. Seems that there are still some sane people left! congratulations.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 11:46pm
  34. Long overdue, but we did it!!! Welcome to the 21st Century! I’m proud to live here now. If we could only get rid of the gangs, which is a far bigger problem, we’d be doing ok.

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 12:49am
  35. So they should :-) x

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 1:31am
  36. It’s about time that my home state got with the progam,This is awesome news and I’m majorly happy about it as is everyone else that’s been fighting for this and many other states to approve this,We’re making history one state at a time

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 3:06am
  37. I’m so happy I get to be coming home! I love Washington even more now!

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 3:07am
  38. < jumping up and down!! woot!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:26am
  39. WHOOPEE!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:28am
  40. Another awesome step!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 5:08am
  41. Tears. I am so PROUD of Washington! Even though I know there will be a battle at the ballot box over this law in November, I am VERY proud of my home state!

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 5:42am
  42. VICTORY! TAKE THAT HOMESCHOOLED GIRL!!!!!!!!1

    Posted on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 10:59am