Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation Monday that allows same-sex marriage in Washington state, a move hailed by supporters of gay rights.
Gregoire wrote on her Twitter page, "My proudest day as Governor- WA state has finally said yes to marriage equality!"
However, opponents are mobilizing to put the legislation to a vote, potentially overturning it in November.
According to the Secretary of State's Office, the legislation would normally take effect 90 days after the governor's signature, which would be June 7. However, if enough signatures are collected by June 6, the law would be put to a vote in November and same-sex marriage would not take place in Washington state until after the November ballot.
In a 55-43 vote, the state House approved legislation Wednesday, Feb. 8, legalizing same-sex marriage. That was a week after the legislation passed the Senate in a 28-21 vote.
“This is truly a historic day in Washington state, and one where I couldn’t be more proud. 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. 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,” Gregoire posted on her website after Wednesday's vote.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down 2-1 the California proposition -- Prop. 8 -- that amended the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. (Proposition 8 followed a court ruling that excluding gays from marriage was against California's state constitution.) That ruling is expected to head to the Supreme Court.
Bellevue's representation in Olympia all voted in favor of the legislation:
Sen. Steve Litzow (R- Mercer Island): Yes
Rep. Judy Clibborn (D - Mercer Island): Yes
Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D -Renton): Yes.
Sen. Rodney Tom (D- Medina): Yes
Rep. Ross Hunter (D- Bellevue): Yes
Rep. Deb Eddy (D- Kirkland): Yes
Do you think legal gay marriage in this state is something to celebrate? Or are there reasons to oppose it?
Washington state reaction:
Congressman Adam Smith, (D-WA9)
“I am pleased to see the progress Washington State has made in recognizing marriages for same-sex couples. No couple should be denied the opportunity to enter into marriage and build a life together based on love, commitment, and mutual support. This is why I am a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would allow the Federalgovernment to recognize marriages that are currently legal in individual states.
“The passage of landmark legislation that allows all couples the ability to join in marriagemoves us closer to becoming a more equal and fair society. But while we have made tremendous strides, more work must be done to achieve a society that provides all people with equal opportunity and basic human dignity.
“I am committed to protecting the rights of all men and women to love and honor their spouses and I look forward to working with my colleagues to see that marriage for all couples becomes a national reality.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine
This is an historic day for our state, as we finally recognize the equality and protect the rights of all the people of Washington.
We can all take pride in our status as the seventh state in the U.S. to recognize that marriage is a basic civil right.
This legislation has been fully and fairly debated. I congratulate Governor Gregoire for signing it into law.
No doubt this law will be challenged. I will work in whatever capacity I can to ensure its approval by Washington voters, just as I fought against the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act” more than a decade ago.
I look forward to the day when I can sign King County’s first marriage license for a same-sex couple.