Washington State House Approves Landmark Legislation Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Bill passes 55-43 on bipartisan vote; Governor expected to sign by Valentine’s Day

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 hailed the Washington State House’s vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage legislation in Washington State.  The measure passed by a bipartisan vote of 55-43.

“We thank Speaker Chopp and Rep. Pedersen for their leadership, as well as the bipartisan coalition of representatives who voted today to recognize the love, honor and commitment of all Washington families,” said Lacey All, Chair of Washington United for Marriage.  “Many of us have known for a long time that recognizing the diversity and inclusion our state has to offer is key to our success.  The enactment of this bill will prove to the world that Washington is a great place to live, work and raise a family.  We do not doubt our opponents will be successful in placing a referendum on the ballot, and we will continue to build upon our momentum and win in November.”

“We’re simply overjoyed by the action of the State House today,” said Ryan and Jackie Lipstein from Oak Harbor.  “We’ve shared in each other’s lives for so long and never thought the day would come when our friends, family and neighbors could look upon us as a family like any other.  We can live our lives and contribute to our community just as we’ve always done, but with the same dignity and respect as everyone else.”

The bill now heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s desk for her signature.  She has 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.

At this time, six states plus the District of Columbia recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.  Nine states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.  Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.

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 atFacebook.com/WashingtonUnited.

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