On Monday, Washington became the seventh state in the nation to legally allow same sex marriages. Governor Chris Gregoire (D) signed the recently-passed bill into law. The governor signed the bill surrounded by supporters and gay rights advocates. But even as the ink was drying, opponents to the measure were vowing to fight to repeal the legislation.
Won’t be effective until at least June
The measure was approved Wednesday by state legislators. Its support came mostly from Democrats, who control both legislative bodies in the state. Gregoire, who is in her last term, fast-tracked the bill for passage. However, it will not go into effect until at least June, pending a standard enactment period. A law does not go into effect in Washington until 90 days after the state’s legislative session ends.
Opposition vows repeal
Opponents of the bill have said they will seek its repeal through a ballot measure in November of this year. That push could delay the law’s enactment or possibly derail it entirely. Its opposition is likely to become an rallying point for the state’s conservative politicians.
Governor says she is proud
The bill was signed in front of a cheering crowd at the state’s capitol in Olympia. The Governor said:
“I’m proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal. … I’m proud of who and what we are as a state.”
Opposition prepares repeal efforts
A crowd of less-than-ebullient protestors from groups like the Knights of Columbus were also in attendance.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, stopped by the state to woo Republican voters in face of the upcoming state Republican caucuses on March 3. He will be speaking to Republican lawmakers Monday afternoon and will likely voice support of the repeal effort.
In response to the repeal efforts to come, Gregoire urged all Washington voters to stay strong. “Look into your hearts,” she said, “and ask yourselves: isn’t it time?”
A good week for gay rights advocates
Lat week California’s controversial Proposition 8 — which banned any legislation allowing same-sex marriages — was ruled unconstitutional and overturned. New Jersey also approved a bill allowing same-sex marriages on Monday.
Support growing for gay marriage
Polls show steadily growing support for same-sex marriage among American voters. In 2009, the ABC News/Washington Post poll showed, for the first time, more supporters than opposition for legalizing the unions. In that poll, 49 percent were in favor, with 46 percent opposed and the remainder undecided. In 2011 the same poll showed that 53 percent of Americans would support same-sex marriages.
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