The state of Washington will be the next state to deliver the right of same-sex civil marriage equality to its 6.8 million citizens. Yesterday, the crucial 25th vote was secured when Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat, announced she would now support legislation allowing same-sex marriage in the Evergreen State. The push for marriage equality became a strong possibility when Governor Christine Gregoire, who has already signed a strong domestic partnership law, announced just weeks ago she was going to push for a same-sex marriage bill. Supporters now believe they have enough votes in the House and Senate to pass same-sex marriage, the Governor will sign the bill, so unless anything happens in the mean time, Washington will be the next state to see marriage equality.
“In a written statement issued at the end of a Senate committee hearing on the bill, Haugen said she took her time making up her mind to ‘to reconcile my religious beliefs with my beliefs as an American, as a legislator, and as a wife and mother who cannot deny to others the joys and benefits I enjoy’,” The Huffington Post reported:
“This is the right vote and it is the vote I will cast when this measure comes to the floor,” she said.
Democratic Sen. Ed Murray, a gay lawmaker from Seattle who has led the push for gay civil rights and domestic partnerships, testified before the Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee with his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki.
“I realize the issue of marriage for our families is emotional and divisive,” said Murray, who is sponsoring the Senate bill. “It touches what each of us holds most dear, our families.”
Others argued that the measure goes against traditional marriage and the Bible.
“You are saying as a committee and a Legislature that you know better than God,” said Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church.
Committee chairman Craig Pridemore said that no action on the bill would be taken Monday, but that a committee vote would be taken Thursday morning.
Washington, since 1998 has had a so-called “Defense of Marriage” ban on same-sex marriage.
A majority of voters in Washington, 55%, would vote for marriage equality if it found its way to the ballot box via a referendum after the legislature passed it, although voters are split 46% to 44% in favor; a plurality, but not a majority, as New York had.
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