It’s not the boldest of moves as she finishes her second term as governor but Christine Gregoire announced Wednesday that she now fully supports gay marriage in Washington and will work to change state law in her final year in office:
…We have made major strides towards equality for racial minorities…for women…for people with disabilities…for immigrants…for religious sects.
We applaud the generations before us for their wisdom and courage to fight for equality.
Now it’s our time…this generation’s call to end discrimination – discrimination against our gay and lesbian citizens.
It is time for marriage equality.
Washington has had a law on the books since 2006 prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation while 2009’s “everything but marriage” effort and Referendum 71 expanded same-sex companion rights. The Seattle Times reports that some 19,000 people are now registered as domestic partners in Washington. Full marriage equality would allow for civil marriage of lesbian and gay couples and would help eliminate some frustrating barriers related to complications an un-married couple might currently encounter dealing with issues like immigration, adoption and health.
Six states currently have legalized same-sex marriage.
Here’s more reporting on the news:
Murray, who sponsored and passed the 2006 bill, was asked if he had the votes now for gay marriage. (Murray has been introducing the bill nominally for years.) “We’re not there yet,” Murray said candidly. “We’re a few votes short in the senate. I believe we can get there.” Bills need 25 votes in the senate. The Democrats have a 27-22 advantage, but a few conservative Democrats and most Republicans are against gay marriage.
Gregoire broke in: “Can I be clear? We’re going to get the votes and it will come to my desk. And I will sign it.” The crowd broke into applause again.
- Seattle Times: Gregoire proposes legislation to legalize gay marriage
Democrats hold a 27-22 majority in the state Senate and a 56-42 advantage in the state House. However, some conservative Democrats in the Senate have voted with Republicans in the past to oppose extending rights to same-sex couples.
- The Advocate: Washington’s Governor: “It’s Time” for Marriage Equality
“I don’t think about the legal protections of a marriage license,” she said. “Instead I think about love, I think about commitment.”