It’s a happy day for many couples in the state of Washington. The senate just approved a bill to legalize gay marriage. It’s not a total victory yet for same-sex couples in the state – the bill still has to pass the house and the governor must sign it before it becomes law. It’s almost guaranteed smooth sailing from here: Governor Chris Gregoire supports the bill.
Reuters reports that if the bill clears the house floor, it will make Washington the seventh state (plus the District of Columbia) to acknowledge the right of same-sex couples to marry. The measure passed with a 28-21 vote, a mere three more votes than needed to pass the bill to the house. With such a small margin, it’s clear the measure isn’t favored by all, despite the fact that both the WA senate and house are both primarily Democrat-controlled. More surprising, perhaps, is the fact that four Republicans raised their voice to support their GLBT brothers and sisters.
There was noise from both sides of the fence when the news was announced. The Seattle Times quotes one conservative senator as saying “…a bill which purports to be about ending discrimination leaves the door open so far for discrimination going in the other direction.” Other concerned parties argued that the bill was a slight against religious institutions, a slight against the Christian God and a slap in the face to those bigoted souls who feel it’s OK to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry and be recognized by society as a family unit.
The news was harkened by less malicious, fear-mongering from the other side. The Seattle Pi reports on the joyous reaction by citing the hopes, happiness and celebrations of members of the gay community in Seattle. The journey to recognize same-sex marriage as a legal venture is not just a legal issue but one that many people hold close to their hearts. And it’s been a journey fraught with discrimination, bigotry, violence and pure hatred. It’s no wonder that the news of the bill’s passing was met with tears – both bitter and sweet.
The journey isn’t over yet, though. Those opposed to the bill have until June to collect 120,577 signatures to hold a referendum on the issue for November. Gay marriage is legal in the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, as well as the nation’s capitol. If voters have their way, Washington will join the lands of the free before the year is up. Seven down, 43 to go.
How do you feel about same-sex marriage? Do you support traditional values or are you all for marriage equality? Share your opinions with us and give us some insight into your views on wedded bliss.