by Michelle Golonka
Washington State Representative (R), Maureen Walsh, chokes up during a recent gay marriage debate.
Washington state is on the road to becoming the seventh state in the country to allow same-sex marriage. The State House gave final passage to this bill on Wednesday, which Gov. Christine Gregoire promised to sign.
The Governor is expected to sign the bill as soon as next week, but it might not take effect immediately. Under state law, if opponents gather 120,000 signatures, the measure will be put to a public referendum before it can be enacted.
The Washington vote came just a day after a court ruling in California that struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are pushing similar statutes in Maryland and New Jersey, whose Democratic-controlled state Senate in Trenton approved a gay marriage bill earlier on Monday. Republican Governor Chris Christie has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.
A referendum to legalize gay marriage in Maine has qualified for the November ballot there.
Two of Washington state’s leading proponents of gay marriage, state Representative Jamie Pedersen and state Senator Ed Murray, hailed the work of Olympia’s legislature.
Now if only Oregon and California can get it together…