Washington State one step closer to gay marriage

BIV

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Apr 22, 2002
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Historic Senate vote clears way for gay marriage in state

The state Senate passed legislation Wednesday night that would legalize gay marriage. The bill now goes to the House, where it's expected to pass easily.
By Andrew Garber
Seattle Times Olympia bureau

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ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, center left, and Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, hug inside Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown's office at the Capitol before floor debate on the Senate's same-sex marriage bill. The legislation passed by a 28-21 margin, three votes more than needed.



OLYMPIA — In the end, it wasn't even close. After more than a decade of laying the ground work and fretting that the votes would be just out of reach, state Sen. Ed Murray watched Wednesday night as the Senate easily passed legislation that would legalize gay marriage.
The vote was 28-21.
"For a lot of people in my age group, this is a stunning event," said Murray, the prime sponsor of the bill. "It's something we did not believe would happen in our lifetime."
While it wasn't final passage, the Senate always has been viewed as the biggest hurdle for same-sex marriage legislation, as it was for gay-rights bills in previous years.
The measure now heads to the House, where supporters say they have more than enough votes. It's expected to pass as early as next week. The governor strongly supports the bill as well.
Washington would become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage, depending on the outcome of a threatened referendum challenge by gay-marriage opponents.
Little sign of nervousness was apparent in the hours leading up to the Senate floor action.
Murray, a Seattle Democrat, and his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, actually held a celebratory news conference before the Senate went into session.
Gay-marriage supporters packed the Senate galleries, and they burst into applause when the vote tally was announced.
"It's exciting to be here and see the civil-rights movement move forward," said Kevin Moser, 31, a Seattle man who was there with his partner, Bret Tiderman.
"It means that one day our parents will be really excited to go to a wedding," Tiderman said.
Jane Sterland, 56, of Centralia, was one of the few gay-marriage opponents on hand to witness the vote.
"I'm a Christian, and this is not pleasing to God," she said. "I feel very grieved that the bill is even in question."
In addition to the 26 lawmakers who previously had announced support for the Senate measure, two more Republicans, Sens. Andy Hill of Redmond and Joe Fain of Auburn, voted for it as well. Republicans Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley had pledged support earlier.
Overall, 24 Democrats and four Republicans voted for the bill.
Conservative Democrats Tim Shelton of Potlach, Paull Shin of Edmonds and Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam opposed the measure, along with 18 Republicans.
The floor debate was tame compared to the overheated rhetoric that sometimes characterized gay-rights debates in the past.
Both sides were civil, making brief arguments for their views.
"We ask for your support tonight not simply because marriage is a series of legal protections," Murray said on the floor. "We ask for your support tonight because marriage is how society says you are a family. Marriage is the way a community knows that a couple loves each other."
Nearly a dozen amendments were introduced, including several that passed which strengthen legal protections for religious groups and organizations. A handful were rejected, including one that would shield from discrimination claims photographers, cake decorators and other business owners who refuse to provide services for gay-marriage ceremonies.
The bill also contains a provision that says churches do not have to marry gay couples unless they want to.
Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, argued that the proposed law alters the definition of marriage and "will lead to the silencing of those who believe in traditional marriage."
"It's ironic how a bill which purports to be about ending discrimination leaves the door open so far for discrimination going in the other direction,"' Swecker said.
An amendment to put the measure on the November ballot, sponsored by Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, also was defeated, by a 26-23 vote.
Hatfield, who ended up voting for the bill anyway, said a decision this big should be decided by voters.
"What's the problem? Let's trust the people of this state ... and let the voters have their say," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, argued the measure is a civil-rights bill and that putting it on the ballot would subject the rights of minorities "to the whims of the majority."
Gay-marriage opponents have promised to challenge any same-sex marriage law at the ballot. A referendum cannot be filed before the governor signs the legislation.
Under state law, opponents have 90 days from the end of the session to collect 120,577 signatures to put a referendum on the ballot. The regular session ends March 8.
If opponents aren't able to collect enough signatures, gay and lesbian couples would be able to be wed starting in June. Otherwise, they would have to wait until the results of a November election.
While the gay-marriage bill passed easily Wednesday, the vote wasn't so certain last month. Many senators were sitting on the fence, and gay-marriage supporters worried they would not have enough votes.
The state Senate, with its mix of conservative Republicans and conservative Democrats, always has been uncertain territory for any measure dealing with the rights of gays and lesbians.
In 2005, a gay-rights bill was defeated by one vote in the Senate. The landmark legislation won narrow approval a year later only after a Republican senator switched sides.
Murray represented the 43rd District in the state House then. At the time, he said the legislation "is one of those rare things that probably only happens once in your life."
Yet, he was back the following year, along with Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, in the House, to push through a series of additional bills dealing with gay rights. That work culminated with the "everything but marriage" law that voters upheld through Referendum 71 in 2009.
In the end, all that was left was the word "marriage."
It was an intentional, incremental approach to pave the way, and build support for legalization of same-sex marriage in the state.
It appears to have worked.
Not only does the bill seem to have broader legislative support than key gay-rights legislation that preceded it, but corporations are tripping over themselves to announce their backing. A number of prominent Pacific Northwest companies, including Microsoft, Starbucks, Nike, Vulcan and Amazon, have endorsed the measure.
Senate Bill 6239 defines marriage as between two persons, rather than between a male and a female.
It also would allow couples from other states with valid civil unions or domestic partnerships — but not marriages — to marry here.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Seattle Times staff reporter Stephanie Kim contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press and The Seattle Times archives also is included.
Andrew Garber: 360-236-8266
or agarber@seattletimes.com
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017398387_gaymarriage02m.html
 

whiskeyguy

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It seems odd to me that Washington doesn't allow gay marriage.

Then again, neither does California. It's a fucking weird world.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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It seems odd to me that Washington doesn't allow gay marriage.

Then again, neither does California. It's a fucking weird world.
It's going to happen. They have been taking baby steps to cover all the bases. The House will sign it, so will the governor.

Opponents have already said they will try to repeal the bill through the initiative process, so we will likely get to see exactly how many bigots our state has.
 

whiskeyguy

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It's going to happen. They have been taking baby steps to cover all the bases. The House will sign it, so will the governor.

Opponents have already said they will try to repeal the bill through the initiative process, so we will likely get to see exactly how many bigots our state has.
Weirdly enough the Mexican-Americans in California were instrumental in stopping gay marriage, since most of them are obnoxiously Catholic. Even a lot of the Republicans here voted to legalize it, since many are pretty moderate.
 

Lord Zero

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Weirdly enough the Mexican-Americans in California were instrumental in stopping gay marriage, since most of them are obnoxiously Catholic. Even a lot of the Republicans here voted to legalize it, since many are pretty moderate.
Blacks were also instrumental in keeping gay marriage from becoming a reality in California.
 

Stormrider666

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What are the other reasons?
I'll get back to you after the back-up.

Considering how important religion and the church are in the black community, I feel they're not doing enough to address certain issues. The problems that I'm referring to are the ones that are caused by members of the black community themselves. I truly believe if the religious leaders got off their asses and started using their sermons to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, it would make a huge difference.

But most only seemed concerned with making sure they get the people's 10%.
 

Josh_R

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Jane Sterland, 56, of Centralia, was one of the few gay-marriage opponents on hand to witness the vote.
"I'm a Christian, and this is not pleasing to God," she said. "I feel very grieved that the bill is even in question."
I hope Jane Sterland was T-boned by a bus full of gays on the way home.
 

Lord Zero

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I truly believe if the religious leaders got off their asses and started using their sermons to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, it would make a huge difference.
I don't know about that. The troublemakers (meaning the full-blown niggers) are predominately younger people and religion is generally on the decline among young folks of all demographics. You won't see many thugs in church. Thugs also tend to frown on any attempt to prevent or persuade them from doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Am I mistaken?
 

Creasy Bear

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Weirdly enough the Mexican-Americans in California were instrumental in stopping gay marriage, since most of them are obnoxiously Catholic. Even a lot of the Republicans here voted to legalize it, since many are pretty moderate.
Because Hey-zeus.
 

Stormrider666

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I don't know about that. The troublemakers (meaning the full-blown niggers) are predominately younger people and religion is generally on the decline among young folks of all demographics. You won't see many thugs in church. Thugs also tend to frown on any attempt to prevent or persuade them from doing whatever the fuck they want to do. Am I mistaken?
The sermons don't have to be held in church. They can go out into community and address them that way. They can make sure the message gets across to the parent(s) of the younger children before they become a thug. They can make it known that being an teenage mom is something not to be proud of and/or a goal in life.

Its something that's not going to change overnight and its only a small part of the plan. But you have start to somewhere and I feel this is how you do it.
 

Lord Zero

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The sermons don't have to be held in church. They can go out into community and address them that way. They can make sure the message gets across to the parent(s) of the younger children before they become a thug. They can make it known that being an teenage mom is something not to be proud of and/or a goal in life.

Its something that's not going to change overnight and its only a small part of the plan. But you have start to somewhere and I feel this is how you do it.
Changing the next generation could definitely work. I thought you meant trying to directly influence the current generation of fuck-ups.
 

BIV

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Apr 22, 2002
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Washington same-sex marriage bill signed into law . Credit: Drew Mikkelsen / KING 5 News

Crowds wait for Washington Governor Chris Gregoire to sign gay marriage into law, February 13, 2012.

by Associated Press
KING5.com
Posted on February 13, 2012 at 6:25 AM

Updated today at 12:15 PM
Related:
•FAQ: How a gay marriage referendum would workadd to reading list
•Supporters of gay marriage getting ready to celebrateadd to reading list
•Will gay marriage play a role in the governor's race?add to reading list
Gallery
.See all 3 photos »

Update: Gov. Gregoire has just signed the measure into law. We'll update this story momentarily.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire will sign a measure legalizing gay marriage in Washington state into law on Monday.

The House passed the bill on a 55-43 vote last Wednesday, a week after the Senate approved it. Gregoire will sign the bill in the state reception room in the Capitol at 11:30 a.m.

The law takes effect June 7, but opponents have promised to fight back with a ballot measure that would allow voters to overturn it.

If opponents gather enough signatures to take their fight to the ballot, the law is put on hold pending the outcome of a November election. They must turn in more than 120,000 signatures by June 6 to challenge the proposed law. An anti-gay marriage initiative has also been filed. To qualify, 241,153 signatures must be submitted by July 6.

Washington state has had domestic partnership laws since 2007, and more than a dozen other states have provisions, ranging from domestic partnerships to gay marriage, supporting same-sex couples.

Gay marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Lawmakers in New Jersey are expected to vote on gay marriage next week, and Maine could see a gay marriage proposal on the November ballot.

Proposed amendments to ban gay marriage will be on the ballots in North Carolina in May and in Minnesota in November.

California's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, was rejected by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit on Tuesday. The panel gave gay-marriage opponents time to appeal before allowing same-sex weddings to resume. The judges also said the decision only applies to California, even though the court has jurisdiction in nine western states.

Washington state's momentum for same-sex marriage has been building and the debate has changed significantly since 1998, when lawmakers passed Washington's ban on gay marriage. The constitutionality of that law ultimately was upheld by the state Supreme Court in 2006. But earlier that year, a gay civil rights measure passed after nearly 30 years of failure, signaling a change in the Legislature.

The quick progression of domestic partnership laws in the state came soon after, with a domestic partnership law in 2007. An "everything but marriage" expansion was later upheld by voters years later.

In October, a University of Washington poll found that an increasing number of people in the state support same-sex marriage. About 43 percent of respondents said they support gay marriage, up from 30 percent in the same poll five years earlier. Another 22 percent said they support giving identical rights to gay couples, without calling the unions "marriage."

If a challenge to gay marriage law was on the ballot, 55 percent said they would vote to uphold the law. And 38 percent said they would vote to reject a gay marriage law.

Same-sex marriage also has the backing of several prominent Pacific Northwest businesses, including Microsoft, Nike and Starbucks.

In Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood on Wednesday, 27-year-old Nicolle Edwards said that the possibility of a referendum to the soon-to-be new law was a concern, but that she was happy her lawmakers approved gay marriage.

"Any step in the direction of equal rights is something to celebrate," said Edwards, who is gay.
http://www.king5.com/news/cities/ol...n-bill-legalizing-gay-marriage-139211664.html
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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Only 43 left to go.