Lawmakers voted to make Washington the seventh state to allow gay marriage. Opponents vow to force the measure onto the November ballot, but obtaining a voter veto of the new law will be an uphill battle.
For supporters of same-sex marriage in the United States, it’s been a good week.
The Washington House of Representatives voted 55 to 43 Wednesday to approve gay marriage. The State Senate already had passed the measure 28 to 21, and Gov. Chris Gregoire (D), who calls it “a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation,” will sign the bill.
The history of the Washington State bill mirrors the shift in public and political attitudes toward gay marriage around the country.
In 1998, state lawmakers passed a Defense of Marriage Act declaring marriage to be a union between a man and a woman. In 2006, a state civil rights measure specifically including protections based on sexual orientation passed for the first time. The next year, a domestic partnership law was enacted, and in 2009 voters approved expanding that law to include everything but marriage.