One week after the Washington State Senate approved a bill, the Washington State House of Representatives are expected to debate and vote on the Marriage Equality Act (SB 6239) starting at 1 p.m. on Feb. 8.
If the bill is successful, Washington would become the seventh state to recognize same-sex marriages.
According to a statement from Washington United for Marriage only six states plus the District of Columbia recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law, including 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.
“Today we take the next step towards making the promise of equality a reality in Washington State,” said Zach Silk, Campaign Manager for Washington United for Marriage. “The introduction of this bill not only recognizes the value that lesbian and gay families in Washington make to our united community, but also upholds the longstanding tradition of the separation of church and state in this country. Marriage is about dignity, commitment, love and respect — it is the ultimate expression of a pro-family society. The foundation of marriage helps us build stable families, and now is the time to recognize the importance of treating all families in Washington State equally.”
Shortly after the vote King County Executive Dow Constantine publicly praised the Washington State Senate’s vote to enact legislation establishing marriage equality in Washington state calling it an "historic vote for the Legislature and for the people of Washington state."
"More than a decade ago, I stood to fight against the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” Today the Senate has righted a wrong and has placed itself on the right side of history," he said. "I salute the many supporters of this legislation and the Senators who took a tough vote to do the right thing."
Earlier this year the Metropolitan King County Council pledged to support of same-sex marriage as part of its proposed 2012 legislative agenda, and adopted an amendment by Council on Jan. 9.
“Many have marched, fought and died for equality,” said King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. “Ensuring that equality is ‘sex neutral’ and that loving and committed adult couples are free to marry is something that I have always supported. This vote, affirming King County’s support for marriage equality, is simply the latest step in this fight.”