Although gay marriage is not the necessarily the be-all end-all of the queer community, many regard it as a very important stepping stone in the equal rights process. Just last week one state came one step closer to becoming the 7th state to recognize same-sex marriage. The state senate of Washington voted through legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, and this past Wednesday the House did as well.
Same-sex marriage is already legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, with debate coming up this year for New Jersey and Maryland. Same-sex marriage could quite also possibly find itself on the ballot this fall in Maine.
Washington state currently recognizes an “everything but marriage law” that was sustained by voters after opponents filed a referendum (to put it on the ballot for direct vote) to challenge it. From 2007 to 2009, Washington recognized domestic partnerships,.
If the law is passed, opponents have already announced a challenge will be filed to put the issue on the November ballot. This measure requires 120,577 signatures, and will postpone gay and lesbian couples the ability to wed to November after the election results, if they are favorable. If the signatures are not collected, then marriages could began as early as June.
Governor Chris Gregoire has said that as long as there are no drastic changes in the law, she will sign it.
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