Washington State Passes Marriage Equality After 55-43 House Vote


Washington state has passed marriage equality after a 55-43 vote in the House. The bill will now go to Governor Chris Gregoire who introduced, and will sign it.

The Herald reports:

Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the prime sponsor of the bill passed today, and Gregoire watched the debate from the Democratic side of the chamber.

"It took the courage of many legislators who struggled with a difficult issue and decided to do what they believe is best for all Washingtonians to make today's historic vote possible," Murray said in a statement issued before the vote. "It will bring to an end what has been, for me, a 17-year-struggle in the Legislature to recognize the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples in our state.

"I expect a referendum on this issue, and I remain confident that, ultimately, marriage equality will be Washington's law," he said.

Eli Sanders at Seattle paper The Stranger has a liveblog if you'd like to read the archive, and info on what's next:

Once the governor signs the bill—which has to happen within five days of her receiving it from the legislature—referendum mayhem begins. The National Organization for Marriage recently told the Seattle Times that it will file for a referendum on gay marriage "before the ink is dry on the governor's signature." NOM—which spent millions to repeal marriage equality in California and Maine—will then have 90 days from March 8, the scheduled end of the legislative session, to work with its allies to gather 120,557 valid signatures in support of their referendum. If they don't get the required signatures, gay marriages could begin in mid-June. If they do get the signatures—which they probably will—we'll be voting on gay marriage in November. Assuming it passes, gay marriages will begin after the election is certified sometime in December. But don't get excited yet: No state has ever upheld same-sex marriage at the ballot.

Washington will now become the seventh state (New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa, plus D.C.) to allow same-sex marriage.

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  1. YES!!!!! Way to go WA!!!!!!

    Posted by: Mickey | Feb 8, 2012 6:29:24 PM

  2. This is great news! This is what Obama is against. He opposes marriage equality. He wants equal rights for himself but not for us.He is not getting my vote in November. I wish Ron Paul can get to the WH.

    Posted by: Chris in SF | Feb 8, 2012 6:37:25 PM

  3. Excellent news!!

    Good week for us: Cali court rules in our favour; WA joins the future with marriage equality.

    Of course, ol' frothy santorum took 3 states so there is still work to do.

    Posted by: MikeBoston | Feb 8, 2012 6:38:10 PM

  4. I was watching this live online...freakin awesome. The remarks made by so many republicans were just awful and discriminatory. It was a narrow margin....from what I understand, they can appeal this if they get a certain # of signatures by June 6th? I don't know how many signatures or what's considered a valid signature to begin with. Here's keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't prevail, and freedom will continue :)

    Posted by: Will | Feb 8, 2012 6:38:51 PM

  5. Yes, Chris, Obama is so against us getting married, in fact, that he has ordered the justice department to not defend DOMA. Moron.

    Posted by: LiamB | Feb 8, 2012 6:46:56 PM

  6. Chris, you probably should leave the gin bottle alone when you're going to post.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Feb 8, 2012 6:51:12 PM

  7. this is turning into a bad week for haters.

    Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC | Feb 8, 2012 6:51:35 PM

  8. Wonderful news but let's not open the champagne bottles just yet! Remember that Washington has a referendum process and you can bet those bigots will be in full force to get the signatures and try to repeal the law before it starts! So let's make sure that the law STAYS and equal marriage comes to Washington state!

    Posted by: Mr. E | Feb 8, 2012 6:54:45 PM

  9. What is Ron Paul going to do for homosexual equality?

    Posted by: sam | Feb 8, 2012 6:57:25 PM

  10. Hooray, I knew my state is the best in the world.
    And Gonzaga beats St. Marys tomorrow night.
    Things are looking good.

    Posted by: Barney | Feb 8, 2012 6:59:48 PM

  11. can't there be another shot of bryan brown crying into his sleeve?

    Posted by: alguien | Feb 8, 2012 7:02:45 PM

  12. So even though there's no marriages until after an election, the law still was passed and signed by the Governor. I wonder if that gives any grounds to sue under the precedent just established yesterday in the Perry case that rights cannot be taken away once recognized or granted.

    Posted by: Zlick | Feb 8, 2012 7:15:22 PM

  13. The states which have it need to do away with this referendum nonsense. We are a republic. We elect legislators, who presumably have a broad grasp of the issues and understanding of the Constitution, to make laws for us without the jeers and bloody screams of the fetid mob fueling their deliberations.

    Congratulations Washington! Let's hope you can keep what you've struggled so long to get.

    Posted by: RWG | Feb 8, 2012 7:29:38 PM

  14. ZLICK great observation.....

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 8, 2012 7:32:19 PM

  15. @ZLICK

    I believe Ari's analysis here on TR said that this is a different matter--WA law says that implementation is suspended if a law is sent to referendum. Therefore, unlike CA, marriages would not be performed and the law had not taken effect. Technically marriage equality wouldn't be "taken away", the legislation would be nullified without ever taking effect. The referendum is essentially the game going into overtime.

    Posted by: homogenius | Feb 8, 2012 7:36:16 PM

  16. Where is NOM getting their millions? It's gotta be expensive fighting an inexorable tide.

    Posted by: HKillinger | Feb 8, 2012 7:38:06 PM

  17. This is really exciting news. Now the goal becomes: Keeping marriage equality in place in Washington state (by educating about LGBT issues and combatting N.O.M.'s bigotry).

    Posted by: Tyler | Feb 8, 2012 7:50:10 PM

  18. A low threshhold. They need 120K signatures to get it on. Easily done. And Homogenius is of course correct, so yesterday's decision would not apply.

    The main thing is polling that 55% of WA citizens approve of gay marriage. It is all a matter of getting them to vote. That is why it was smart to arrange it this year, when turnout on the progressive, young side will be high. It is all about turnout. Please remember we don't stand in line here, we do it all by mail.

    Posted by: melvin | Feb 8, 2012 7:50:52 PM

  19. guys, ignore Chris in SF - one more anti-black pro-GOP self-hating closeted homosexual.

    not impressive.

    that said, this has not been a great 48 hours for Gay Republicans - each of your parties potential leaders have been promoting anti-gay bigotry and continuing to tell their plebeian flocks that the Equality of LGBT people will somehow come at the expense of the freedom of White Christian American Heterosexuals.

    the way Gay GOP-defenders have been running around like mad trying to ignore it and blame Obama has been both pathetic and hilarious.

    we're seeing it again - a culture of conservative white males who are just STUNNED that a Black Democrat will do for them what their own white conservative families never would....

    just like when Obama gave a tax break and millions of right-wing Americans screamed "DON"T RAISE OUR TAXES!"

    he didn't, you dunces. you're just so bloody racist you didn't realize you saved money.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 8, 2012 8:01:13 PM

  20. Do you think Chris is really Jason? he says the same things hmmmm

    Great News about WA!

    Chris lets get a few things out there, i see you popping up here and there.

    If you believe that a republican will be better on gay issues then vote that way. But when the sh-t hits the fan and it will stand in line.
    You will not find a more Pro gay republican president (Paul WILL lose) then what we have in Obama.
    All (winnable) republican contenders want an amendment banning marriage, Obama does not. Even if Obama NEVER says he agrees with gay marriage he is the only one who wont stop you from having it. He believes the federal government should have to recognize what the state dictates as marriage. He will sign the repeal of DOMA, he will sign ENDA and he will sign safe school legislation protection gay kids even if the town doesn’t want to.

    This is what I don’t think you and most angry gays understand, the president does NOT make laws, he carries them out Congress makes the laws.

    You want DOMA repealed? Get off your -ss and fight Congress
    You want ENDA passed? Get off your -ss and fight Congress
    You want safe school legislation passed to protect our kids? Get off your -ss and fight Congress.

    I don’t mean write a letter, show up be heard, remind them you exist. Don’t take No keep going. Run signature drives make them understand that we are NOT going anywhere. That’s your job, not the presidents. Just because he was elected and stated he wants this and that it does not mean he can or do it alone. We have an obligation and Responsibility to fight harder because he's there, he's willing to sign legislation other presidents have threatened to Veto.

    If DOMA, ENDA or safe schools make it to the white house you better be dam sure Obama's there, the rest of the clowns will laugh as its placed on their desk. Is he perfect HELL NO, but compared to Newt, Mitt and Rick? come on

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Feb 8, 2012 8:07:21 PM

  21. @George, YES.

    there are so many Anonymous Sybil's on here, it's ridiculous.

    the same person having three to four conversations going, pretending to be different people.

    because that's sane.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 8, 2012 8:13:30 PM

  22. Any lawyers lurking around the comments section? I got a question. The 9th circ ruled yesterday that Cali could not remove marriage after it was enabled; what impact would that have on WA as NOM moves forward? After marriage passes, is the referendum preemptively stopped? If not, and the ref does pass, would enforcing the ref be stopped? Ie, would gay marriage continue in WA until the en-banc or until the USSC rules? Would marriage be halted in WA until the next Perry stage? Is Perry completely irrelevant to the WA situation?

    Posted by: Billy | Feb 8, 2012 9:01:52 PM

  23. Georgem, you've got my vote and attention...run for something. Tell us more about exactly what to do, not that you haven't said enough to figure it out. I've been rather passive for too long...and it's impressive that Kiwi, a Canadian, is so gung ho for us Americans.

    Posted by: uffda | Feb 8, 2012 9:22:07 PM

  24. Hurray. Hopefully the referrendum proponents will spend lots of dough raising dough for what ought to be a losing cause. The 9th Cir decision upholding the opinion of Republican Judge Vaughn Walker should help persuade folks to not waiste their $$$ on the campaign. Starbux, MSFT and Boeing all support Gay Marriage in Washington. Their backing will help. WHat we need, tho, rather than calling names, is to encourage PARENTS of kids who are not 100% straight, to speak up and share their stories. What is discouraging is that last week a gay kid in Wenatchee committed suicide after being bullied. It was not in the press in Central Washington where I am. I saw it on Towerload, but not in my paper. We need to support and encourage parents to share their stories with neighbors. When parents come out they will put a face on the hurt of bigotry. This will change votes more than name calling.

    Posted by: Eyes For Guys | Feb 8, 2012 9:29:14 PM

  25. Billy-- I am a Washington lawyer "lurking" here, as you describe. I am not a constitution lawyer, or a legislative lawyer, but ... ... ... what I have gleened from other sources, the referrendum, if passed by a majority of voters, would serve as a prophilactic preventing the law adopted by the legislature from becoming effective. Don't know the answer to the other question, i.e. "taking away" an existing right. The 9th Cir. presented their decision phrased that way. But what is the difference where a right is not granted in the first place vs taking an existing right away? Seems to be a difference without a distinction. Withholding "married" status on the basis of gener seems discriminatory regardless of how that denial is accomplished. ... ... just saying... .. ..

    Posted by: Eyes For Guys | Feb 8, 2012 9:35:58 PM

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