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Washington State headed toward gay marriage: a sign of shifting attitudes

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.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rep. Jamie Pedersen embrace after the House voted to legalize gay marriage in Washington State Wednesday at the state capitol in Olympia. Gov. Gregoire is expected to sign the bill next week.

Elaine Thompson/AP

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For supporters of same-sex marriage in the United States, it’s been a good week.

A federal appeals court struck down California’s Prop. 8 measure banning gay marriage. And a day later, Washington became the seventh state to give same-sex couples the right to marry.

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.

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The history of the Washington State bill mirrors the shift in public and political attitudes toward gay marriage around the country.

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