Washington State’s Gay-Marriage Bill Just Needs Two More Votes To Pass

Since Washington governor Chris Gregoire came out in support of marriage equality last week, momentum has steadily been building on the issue. Today the state Senate introduced the bill, with 23 sponsors—21 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that the Democrat-controlled state House should pass the bill easily, but it’ll need two more “yea” votes to clear the Senate. There are six wild-card Democrats who did not sponsor the bill outright, but any of them could be swayed to vote for it.

The AP conducted a survey of the state’s 49 Senators on Wednesday and found that 22 supported the measure, 18 opposed, and 9 were on the fence.

If the bill reaches Gregoire’s desk, she’ll sign it and Washington State will become the seventh to legalize same-sex marriage. That should cast a big-ass rainbow across rainy Seattle. (We kid, we kid!)

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  • Phantom

    Come on, just two more little itty bitty votes and get the equality marriage soon as possible.

  • CJ

    One step at a time will do just fine. Yes, it would be great to have equality in all 50 states immediately. But, this type of (possible) momentum only strengthens the national debate and it would be increasingly difficult for SCOTUS to ignore the obvious change that is occurring across the US if Prop 8 or another case goes there in 2012 or 2013.

  • Erich

    If the Republican-led Senate in NY could find the votes, I’m confidant that tolerant and open-minded folks in the PW Northwest can find them.

  • Torchwood

    I dont mean to burst your bubble but this will be put to a referendum by the
    anti-gay groups. Do you think it will pass? WA votes supported R 71 to allow
    domestic partner benefits in 2009 but its hard to say whether or not they are ready
    for this

  • iDavid

    Hey rainy Washington can use a “big ass rainbow”! Hope this works!

  • Stefan


    Voters approved R 71 by a decent margin (6.3%) considering it was an off year election 3 years ago. In 3 years support for gay marriage has surged and the fact that this is a Presidential election year will both benefit our side.

  • Cam

    So TWO Republicans support it and we still have to deal with 6 Democrats who have not said where they stand?

    Ridiculous, any of them who don’t vote for it need to have a well funded primary opponent next election.

  • Fodolodo

    @Cam: It’s four Democrats and two Republicans who are (publicly at least) undecided, but your point is fair enough. There are also two Democratic “no” votes.

  • Robert in NYC

    @Torchwood: If it’s legalized through the state legislature, probably harder to go for a referendum ballot. Takes a lot of time and money. NOM et al vowed to do the same in NYS but that would require a constitutional convention and that’s an extremely lenghty and costly process. I doubt if that will happen in my state or Washington either.

    Out of 6 democrats, I can’t believe two more can’t be swayed. Washington State is in a better position than when my state first attempted to pass it. We had a wide margin of 8 democrats who voted no. We were two short in the second attempt but four republicans were persuaded to vote yes saving the day, thanks to the skills of Governor Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several wealthy key republican CEO’s.

  • Cam


    Thanks for the correction. And yes, whichever Dems cote against it need to have very well funded primary opponents in the next election.

    It’s what happened finally in New York. For years HRC and other groups told gays to shut up and not harrass our “Friends” so there was no downside if they voted against us, and they avoided conservatives getting angry.

    Finally in NY, the Dems who had voted no were targeted with well funded attack ads, some lost, and the other ones realized that now, they could no longer rely on support merely for mentioning us and pretending to be evolving. That it was now more harmful to their career to vote against us and we would no longer tolerate the little pats on the head that HRC so adores.

  • William

    @Cam: The problem is that Washington State has a top-two voting structure meaning that the primaries are open, 4 republicans and 6 democrats can all run for the same seat with the two garnering the most votes moving on to the “final” election. Sometimes that results in a D vs. R “final” election, sometimes it ends up with a D vs. D or an R vs. R. The problem is that with Sen. Haugen, for example, she is in a swing district meaning that no “primary” challenger from the D side is going to get enough votes to beat the republican candidate AND an incumbent. Rather than punishing democrats that can’t vote for political reasons, it would make more sense to entice the republicans who may. Senators Hill and Fain are both young freshman republicans in slightly right-leaning districts who are fiscally conservative but socially moderate. They already have a voting record expressing their support for gay issues (last session’s parentage bill that worked to stream line issues of adoptive parentage by same sex couples) and are “lower hanging fruit” with regards to the issue at hand. In the end I think we’ll get it, the REAL problem is going to be when they run it as a referendum to the people and outside money from NOM and the LDS come pouring in.

  • C in Seattle

    @Robert in NYC: Forcing a referendum on new legislation in WA is actually a fairly easy and common process. Back in 2009 an extremely disorganized and cash-poor coalition of anti-gay groups was able to push through a referendum on the Domestic Partnership law without much trouble. A referendum on gay marriage is all but certain given the kind of out-of-state money that is bound to flow in (NOM, LDS church, etc.). Everyone in WA knows this is coming and we are ready for it.

  • Kurt

    The Governor said that same sex marriage is needed so we can tell the children of same sex relationships that their parents’ relationship is equal to opposite sex parents.

    Interesting quote, suggesting without marriage, parents are in an inferior relationship. Both social conservatives and social liberals should consider what this implies about parents who leave their children as bastards. Is the message here, if you are going to have a baby, get hitched?

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