|Washington becomes seventh state to recognize same-sex marriages|
|Written by Ryan Watkins|
|Monday, 13 February 2012 13:27|
Washington became the seventh state to allow same-sex marriage today after Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill that will allow full marriage rights to same-sex couples. New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia also allow same-sex marriage.
Gregoire called the law's passage “historic.”
“I commend our House members and thank Rep. Jamie Pedersen for sponsoring this bill,” Gregoire said last week. “Our legislators showed courage, respect, and professionalism. I look forward to signing this piece of legislation, and putting into law an end to an era of discrimination.”
The Washington House passed the measure on Feb. 8; the state's Senate passed the law earlier this month.
Marriage advocates praised the state's legislature and its governor after passing the landmark legislation.
“Freedom to Marry is proud to be a lead coalition partner in Washington United for Marriage, which worked tirelessly to educate legislators and citizens about why marriage matters to gay couples and their families,” Thalia Zepatos, director of public engagement for Freedom to Marry, said in a statement.
Opponents of the measure will have the chance to file a referendum, however, that could see the the law put before voters this November. Some 120,000 signatures are required to have the measure put on the ballot.
“Many of us have known for a long time that recognizing the diversity and inclusion our state has to offer is key to our success,” said Lacey All, chair of Washington United for Marriage, in a statement.
“The enactment of this bill will prove to the world that Washington is a great place to live, work and raise a family. We do not doubt our opponents will be successful in placing a referendum on the ballot, and we will continue to build upon our momentum and win in November.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT advocacy organization, asked supporters today to thank Gov. Gregoire for her work on ensuring gay and lesbian couples the right to marry but remained cautious about the possible voter referendum.
“This has been a critical step forward in our coordinated, nationwide equality campaign, and we're not about to back down. We still face months of work before same-sex couples can marry in Washington,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in an email to supporters today.
Other states are also moving forward with marriage equality legislation this year, including Maryland and New Jersey.
Top photo: Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (official photo)
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