Washington State Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage
After less than 90 minutes of rather uneventful debate on Wednesday night, the state senate in Washington voted 28-21 to approve a measure allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry there -- making it the seventh US state to do so.
The proposal now moves to the House, where it has the support of Gov. Christine Gregoire and others and could be voted on next week.
Washington approved domestic partnerships in 2006, and in 2009 it passed an "everything-but-marriage bill," which was challenged in a public referendum and upheld by voters.
The Washington marriage bill is similar to one passed last summer in New York, mirroring its language assuring religious groups that they aren't required to marry same-sex couples or allow them to marry in their facilities. Regardless, the Roman Catholic Church is among the opponents saying they'll challenge the proposal in a referendum this fall.
If the measure becomes law, Washington would join New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, and Washington, DC in allowing same-sex marriage.