At 12:08 PM Pacific time, Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire signed the same-sex marriage equality bill into law. Gregoire made national headlines early last month when she announced she had made a strong personal journey and now supported same-sex civil marriage, launching her push to offer marriage to all Washington citizens. One month later, the bill has become law. Washington is now the seventh state and eighth jurisdiction, including the District of Columbia, to offer civil marriage to all citizens. It is also the first state to repeal its Defense of marriage act which prohibited same-sex couples the right to marry.
Opponents of the bill have until June 6 to gather enough valid signatures to stop the bill from becoming effective June 7 — its scheduled date — and place it on a November voter referendum, putting the rights of the minority to an unDemocratic vote. As neither side can claim a majority, there is a strong chance — with the promised infusion of cash from out of state anti-marriage groups like NOM, the National Organization For Marriage — that voters will vote against allowing same-sex couples the freedom and right to marry.
Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D), who sponsored and ushered the bill, along with Senator Ed Murray, spoke eloquently time after time, opened today’s proceedings, and paid tribute to Gregoire’s journey and previous support for other LGBT protections.
Pedersen introduced and thanked his “future husband,” Eric, with whom he has four children. “I’m deeply grateful for his love and support.”
Murray thanked many in the House and Senate, saying, ”My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow.”
“This is a day history will remember – we did it together, Republican and Democrat, straight and gay.”
Gregoire mentioned a long list of reasons she is proud of this bill, including young children who had considered suicide, and parents and children alike.
Gregoire, forcing back tears, also said her two daughters told her marriage equality is the civil rights fight of their generation.
Gregoire made clear “the law provides an exemption and immunity” for religious organizations, adding, “this bill preserves freedom of religion in the state of Washington.”
“The sky will fall mentality has proven not to be true”
“You are great citizens of the state of Washington,” Gregoire told corporate citizens, Amazon, Google, and Starbucks, among dozens of others who signed a letter urging passage of the bill because it is good for business. ”Equality makes for a great economy,” she added.
“If asked, the voters of Washington will say yes to marriage equality. A family is a family.”
Raising her hands after signing the bill with a dozen pens, Gregoire announced, “It is signed!”
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