Monday, February 13, 2012

WA: Gov. Gregoire Signs Marriage Equality Bill!

As promised, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington, signed the marriage equality bill into law today which was passed by the legislature last week. The bill will not go into effect until June 7th at the earliest, and with her signature today opponents now have the opportunity to collect 120, 557 signatures by that date to place a referendum on the enactment of SB 6239 on the November 2012 ballot. The referendum process prevents the law from going into effect unless and until the referendum is approved by the voters. If you're feeling a sense of déjà vu you are not alone. In 2009, Washington State enacted a comprehensive domestic partnership statute (which on the east coast they call "civil union" or an "everything but the title marriage" law) that became subject to a referendum, Referendum 71.

The ballot measure was later approved by voters and went into effect on December 7, 2009. However, since we all know that separate but equal does not work, Washington marriage equality advocates continued to work for full equality and now have convinced the Legislature and Governor to enact a marriage equality bill. It is quite likely that Evergreen State voters will again approve of equality for same-sex couples and become the first state to enact marriage equality at the ballot box in the process.

If so, Washington will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, District of Columbia and New York as granting equal marriage rights to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

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