Bill legalizing gay marriage passes House vote: 55-43

Feb 8, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has voted to legalize gay marriage, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The action comes a day after a federal appeals court declared California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

The Washington state House passed the measure on a 55-43 vote Wednesday after several hours of debate. The state Senate approved the proposal last week.

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the bill next week, and it would take effect 90 days later. But opponents have promised a challenge, which could put the law on hold pending the result of a November vote.

On the floor

The Seattlepi.com reports: Several of the Legislature’s gay and lesbian legislators spoke of love for partners and their relationships of longstanding, and of their children.

“This is about families, this is about kids, this is about love and commitment,” said Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, in a 24-year partnership.  “It is about standing before family and friends and making the commitment of a lifetime.”

The Seattle Times reports: Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend, who opposed the measure, argued gay marriage is not an issue of civil rights.

"Marriage has been the union of a man and a woman," he said. "When that union is consummated there is potential for the creation of life. Marriage is about life."

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s response: "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.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C.