Washington Legalizes Gay Marriage
As Gregoire signed the bill, same-sex marriage opponents said their would try to prevent the law from taking effect.
The bill puts Washington with New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa as states that recognize same-sex marriage.
The measure, which won approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday, remains essentially on hold until at least early June, following a standard enactment period that runs until 90 days after Washington's legislative session ends.
Opponents of the statute have vowed to seek its repeal through a ballot measure in November that could delay enactment further or halt it entirely. The issue is also likely to figure in the state's Republican presidential politics.
After the bill was signed at the capitol building in Olympia, the room erupted in raucous applause.
The Washington Post reported:
The state reception room at the Capitol was packed with gay rights supporters and at least 40 lawmakers from the House and Senate.
Sen. Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat who is gay and has sponsored gay rights legislation for years, told the cheering crowd: “My friends, welcome to the other side of the rainbow. No matter what the future holds, nothing will take this moment in history away from us.”
As the Democratic governor signed the legislation, a man shouted, “Do not betray Christ!” However, his voice was overwhelmed by gay-marriage supporters who cheered and spoke loudly during his outburst.
Bob Struble, 68, of Bremerton, was removed from the room and said he was given a warning by security. Struble said he believes the state will halt gay marriage in a public vote. “We’ll be doing everything we can to overturn this unfortunate law,” he said.
Audrey Daye, of Olympia, cried as she watched Gregoire sign the bill into law. Daye, who grew up with two moms, brought her 7-year-old son, Orin, with her to watch the bill signing.
“I am so proud that our state is on the right side of history,” she said.
Earlier Monday, the New Jersey Senate took a step towards legalizing same-sex marriage in their state, voting to approve a bill that would allow it. That bill is expected to reach the state assembly on Thursday. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has already said he would veto the bill if it comes to his desk.
Another gay marriage proposal could be seen on Maine's ballot in November, while proposals to amend the state constitution in North Carolina and Minnesota to ban gay marriage may also appear on their respective ballots.