Washington Senate Passes Marriage Equality
February 1, 2012 by Tony Wagner, Western Regional Field Director
Late Wednesday evening, the Washington State Senate voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage legislation in Washington State. The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 28-21.
Lacey All, HRC Foundation and National Board of Directors member from Seattle, who also serves as Chair of Washington United for Marriage, had this to say about the historic vote:
We thank Majority Leader Brown, Sen. Murray and the bipartisan coalition of senators who stood with us today in the name of equality. The overwhelming support we’re seeing from businesses, labor, faith communities and people all across the state is a testament to the momentum of this movement and sensibilities of Washingtonians. Volunteers from every part of the state have contributed thousands of hours of their time to make today possible, and we thank them for their commitment to this issue.
Larry Lowary and Gerry Betz, longtime residents of Whidbey Island added this about today’s events:
As small business owners who pride ourselves on contributing to our community, we are so grateful that today has arrived, and especially for the support of our senator, Mary Margaret Haugen. We’ve been together for 23 years and entered into our domestic partnership five years ago. Now we’re looking to the day when we’ll be able to look into each other’s eyes, exchange our vows and finally say ‘I Do’ just like anybody else.
Tara Wolfe and A.J. Stolfus from Olympia added:
The action of the senate today means so much to us, and we thank all the senators who supported this legislation. We moved to Washington years ago in part because of the open and welcoming nature of the people here – something we didn’t always see in Kansas. We’re simply overjoyed that our friends, family and neighbors can soon recognize us as spouses and our family as being whole.
The bill now awaits final house approval, which could come as early as next week. Once the house has passed the legislation, Gov. Chris Gregoire would have five business days to sign it into law, which she has indicated she will do. Opponents wishing to challenge the new law would have until June to collect 120,557 valid signatures – the amount required to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot.