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Washington State Governor To Sign Gay Marriage Bill On Monday

(Reuters) – Governor Christine Gregoire plans to sign newly passed legislation on Monday to legalize gay marriage in Washington state, making it the seventh with a law on the books to recognize same-sex nuptials, her office said on Thursday.

A statehouse signing ceremony in Olympia, Washington’s capital, was slated for 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday. The bill won final legislative approval from the state House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 55-43.

The measure will not take effect before early June. Opponents have vowed to seek its repeal at the polls in November, but they cannot begin collecting signatures for a petition to overturn the measure by referendum until it is signed into law.

House approval of the Senate-passed bill came a day after a federal appeals court handed gay rights advocates a key legal victory in California by declaring a voter-approved gay marriage ban in that state to be unconstitutional.

Democrats, who control both legislative bodies in Olympia, accounted for the lion’s share of support for the bill. The stage for swift passage of the measure this year was set after Gregoire, a Democrat in her last term of office, announced last month that she would endorse the legislation.

Several prominent Washington-based companies employing tens of thousands of workers in the state also have supported the bill, including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks. Opponents were led by Catholic bishops and other religious conservatives.

Full story @ Reuters

Washington House Passes Marriage Equality 55-43

OLYMPIA — The only thing left is Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature.

Legislation legalizing gay marriage is on its way to the governor after passing the state House by a 55-43 vote on Wednesday.

Gregoire, who supports the measure and watched as lawmakers voted, has five days to sign the bill after it’s sent to her office. She’s expected to announce Thursday when she’ll sign the measure.

There was never any doubt the legislation would be approved in the House. More than 50 lawmakers announced support for the bill before it came up for a vote.

The biggest hurdle was the state Senate, which has conservative Democrats opposed to the measure. Even there, it passed last week with a 28-21 vote.

Lawmakers in the House debated the measure for more than two hours, although as Republican Rep. Jay Rodne, a gay-marriage opponent from North Bend, noted early on, “This bill is going to pass. It’s a foregone conclusion.”

Rodne and other opponents argued gay marriage is not an issue of civil rights.

Full story @ Seattle Times

Washington could become the seventh state to legalize marriage

Washington could become the seventh state to legalize marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
Sources close to the discussions said Gov. Chris Gregoire on Wednesday is expected to publicly support gay-marriage legislation during the session that starts Monday.

Gregoire has never endorsed same-sex marriage publicly, but supports giving gay and lesbian partners the same rights that married couples have today.

Washington United for Marriage has been invited to a morning news conference where Gregoire will address the issue of marriage equality. Washington United for Marriage is a coalition of gay-rights, civil-liberties, labor and religious groups.