It could be less than a week until yet another state legalized same-sex marriages. The Washington state senate has approved a bill granting marriage equality by a vote of 28-21. The bill now heads to the house, where a vote could come this week or early next week. The house measure is expected to pass by a wide margin.
Governor Christine Gregoire has publicly expressed her support for the bill. After the vote, she said in a statement: “Tonight, the Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination… “The vote was courageous and was only possible with bipartisan support. That support shows Washington’s commitment to equality…
“Fair-minded and responsible leaders crafted a bill that protects religious freedoms while ensuring equal rights.”
“Tonight, our families are better for this vote. Our kids have a brighter future for this bill. I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry they person they love.”
However, state Sen. Brian Hatfield told the Seatlle Post-Intelligencer that conservative groups are already working on getting the issue on the November ballot for voters to decide.
Hatfield expressed his personal struggles in deciding how to vote on the issue. ”“Regardless of how I choose to vote on the issue of marriage equality, I will alienate myself from friends and neighbors that I have known for years. A vote in favor of marriage equality will enrage those who see it as a stone cast against God and the beliefs that I, and thousands like me, have been raised with. A vote against will label me as a bigot who is against extending the basic rights that I enjoy to all residents of our state.”