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Washington governor to sign same-sex marriage bill on Monday

Washington governor to sign same-sex marriage bill on Monday

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday will sign the newly passed legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state. A statehouse signing ceremony in Olympia has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PST on Monday, the Governor’s office has announced.

Chris Gregoire

Washington would become the seventh U.S. state to offer full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, unless opponents make good on their promise to repeal the law.

Last week, the Washington state House of Representatives voted 55-43 in favor of the bill; the state Senate passed its version of the bill by a vote of 28-21 in a late evening session on Feb 1.

The measure cannot take effect before effect before June 7, three months after the conclusion of the legislative session.

In the meantime, opponents have vowed to seek its repeal at the polls in November, but they cannot begin collecting signatures for a petition to overturn the measure until it is signed into law.

A referendum to repeal the marriage equality bill would require 120,577 signatures of registered voters by June 6 to secure a place on the November ballot.

If opponents gather enough petition signatures to qualify for the November ballot, the same-sex marriage law would be suspended until the election and certification of returns — meaning December 6, before it is either repealed or goes into effect.

A second option — a ballot initiative to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman — would require 241,153 signatures gathered by July 6 to secure a position on the ballot.

In January, Gregoire announced her support for marriage equality, and said, “It’s time, it’s the right thing to do.”

Gregoire (D) has also pledged to make an appeal to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), who has proposed a ballot initiative to let voters decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

Christie has vowed to veto same-sex marriage legislation currently being considered in the New Jersey state legislature.

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