February 1, 2012
By Jacob Combs
As anticipated, a proposed marriage equality bill passed the Washington Senate tonight, with a final vote tally of 28-21.
The bill cleared a House committee on Monday, and now moves onto another fiscal committee before it will go to the full House, where it is expected to pass.
Check back here on P8TT throughout the night for analysis. Congratulations, Washington!
UPDATE: If you’re interested in the steps that led up to the final vote tonight, Slog, the Seattle Stranger’s blog, followed today’s Senate proceedings live. Before the session began, Sen. Brian Hatfield (a Democrat) announced his support for the bill, becoming the 26th Senator to do so. Two Republicans who were previously undecided also voted in favor–Sen. Andy Hill and Sen. Joe Fain–bringing the total yes count to 28. The bill could be taken up in the House as early as February 8; the legislative session will last until March 8.
After the bill passed, Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has been strongly supportive of the push for marriage equality in Washington this year, released the following statement:
Tonight the Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination. I believe that this decision should be made by our state Legislature, and I’m proud our elected leaders recognized that responsibility.
Tonight we saw the best of Washington and our leaders. They were respectful and they were kind. I thank Sen. Ed Murray for his leadership.
This vote was courageous and was only possible with bipartisan support. That support shows Washington’s commitment to equality. Fair-minded and responsible leaders crafted a bill that protects religious freedoms while ensuring equal rights. I commend our state Senators who acknowledged tonight that separate but equal is not equal.
Tonight our families are better for this vote. Our kids have a brighter future for this bill. And our state is better for this bill. I encourage the House to approve this bill and get it to my desk for my signature. I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry the person they love.”