Washington State Could Have Marriage Equailty Law Within Weeks

From KIRO TV today:

Washington’s Legislature has enough votes to legalize gay marriage with a statement from Democratic Senator Mary Margaret Haugen Monday who said she will support the measure, becoming the 25th vote needed to pass the bill out of the Senate. The House already has enough support, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has endorsed the plan. […]

Washington would become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriages, following New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Washington state has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and a “everything but marriage” law since 2009.

And from the Seattle Times a couple of days ago:

Once the hearings are over, the bills could move out of committee by Thursday in the Senate and by Jan. 30 in the House. The chairmen of both committees said they have the votes they need. The House bill is also expected to go through the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s not clear if the Senate’s measure will go through Senate Ways and Means.

Gay-marriage advocates say the earliest the bills could get floor votes would be the first part of February.

If the bill passes, according to a Fox news report, “gay and lesbian couples would be able to get married starting in June unless opponents file a referendum to challenge it at the ballot.” Of course, NOM and other opponents of marriage equality are already gearing up for just such a challenge.

But this time it might not be easy for them.

In October, a University of Washington poll found that an increasing number of people in the state support same-sex marriage. About 43 percent of respondents said they support gay marriage, up from 30 percent in the same poll five years earlier. Another 22 percent said they support giving identical rights to gay couples but just not calling it marriage.

When asked how they would vote if a referendum challenging a gay marriage law was on the ballot, 55 percent said they would vote yes to uphold the law, with 47 percent of them characterized as “strongly” yes, and 38 percent responded “no,” that they would vote to reject a gay marriage law.

Of course, it’s happened multiple times that marriage equality has done worse in the voting booth than polls indicated. But poll trends indicate that more voters favor equality with every passing year. So we’ll see.

The fight against marriage equality in Washington is led by Pasteur Ken Hutchingson, who says that people who favor same-sex marriage are like John Wilkes Booth, and “trying to put a bullet in the head of one of the greatest traditions that has ever existed,” and tells lawmakers who vote for marriage equality that they think “that you know better than God.” Oy.

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