A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington State voted Wednesday in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, putting Washington on the path toward becoming the seventh state in the nation to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
“With today’s vote, we tell the nation that Washington state will no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love,” said Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Demorcrat who has vowed to sign it. “We tell every child of same-sex couples that their family is every bit as equal and important as all other families in our state. And we take a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
The law will go into effect in June, when the legislative session ends, unless opponents halt its implementation by putting it on the November 2012 ballot.
The 55-43 vote in the House included two Republicans in support of the bill. The Senate vote last week was 28-21 and included four Republicans.
Legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington is awaiting Gov. Christine Gregoire’s signature.
“Like thousands of other same-sex couples, my partner Eric and I are very grateful for these protections that the law now provide,” said state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat, moments before the vote. “But domestic partnership is a pale and inadequate substitute for marriage.”
State Rep. Jay Rodne, a Republican, disagreed. “Marriage is about life,” he said. “It’s about joining that man and that woman as husband and wife and mother and father, linking them with their natural-born children or adoptive parents and carrying forward our civilization.”
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