OLYMPIA Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that will work to obtain civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State in 2012, today cheered the Washington State Senate's vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage legislation in Washington State. The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 28-21, with 23 Democrats and four Republicans joining together to advance the bill.
"We thank Majority Leader Brown, Sen. Murray and the bipartisan coalition of senators who stood with us today in the name of equality," said Lacey All, Chair of Washington United for Marriage. "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."
"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," said Larry Lowary and Gerry Betz, longtime residents of Washington who live on Whidbey Island. "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."
"The action of the senate today means so much to us, and we thank all the senators who supported this legislation" said Tara Wolfe and A.J. Stolfus, longtime partners from Olympia. "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.
Washington United for Marriage is a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and business associations working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples. To find more information and learn how you can help, visit WashingtonUnitedForMarriage.org . Engage with Washington United for Marriage on social media at Twitter.com/WA4Marriage and at Facebook.com/WashingtonUnited.
Lambda Legal congratulates Washington State Senate for passing Marriage Equality Bill
"Same-sex couples in Washington are now one step closer to enjoying the freedom to marry, thanks to the impressive efforts of Washington United for Marriage and the bravery of supporters of equality in the State Senate."
( Olympia, WA, February 1, 2012 ) -- The Washington State Senate this evening approved by a 28-21 vote a bill establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Lambda Legal National Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor issued the following statement after the State Senate's historic vote:
"Same-sex couples in Washington are now one step closer to enjoying the freedom to marry, thanks to the impressive efforts of Washington United for Marriage, and the bravery of supporters of equality in the State Senate.
We expect this bill to pass quickly through the Washington House of Representatives, and Gov. Gregoire has already indicated she will sign it, bringing the equal right to marry closer to reality for all residents of Washington."
Same-sex couples, and different-sex couples where one partner is at least 62 years old, currently may register as domestic partners with the state.
While this status affords domestic partners state law spousal rights and responsibilities, the state has continued to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, designating these couples and their children as inferior, and inviting private bias and discrimination. Today's historic vote brings these couples and their children closer to equality. The legislative effort was led by Washington United for Marriage, a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and business associations working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.
A vote in the State House is expected as early as next week, and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire has indicated she will sign the measure into law. Marriage equality opponents are expected to launch a referendum effort to overturn the law.