Washington Gay Marriage Votes Within Reach?
The Associated Press has conducted a brief tally of support for same-sex marriage among Washington’s senators, finding that the votes to pass Governor Gregoire’s proposed legislation may be within reach.
Any bill to legalize marriage equality will require 25 votes in the Senate, something that a Democratic majority of 27-22 should bolster but, due to the polarizing nature of the same-sex marriage debate, does not secure.
In contacts with all 49 senators over the past week, The Associated Press found that more lawmakers are now firmly supporting gay marriage than opposing it. That margin currently stands at 22-18, and the measure needs 25 votes to pass the Senate.
There are at least five Democrats that say they are considering the bill with two having indicated they are leaning toward favoring the bill. Of the others, Sens. Brian Hatfield of Raymond, Jim Kastama of Puyallup and Paull Shin of Edmonds, who opposed domestic partnership legislation just a few years ago, have said they are considering the options.
Other Democratic lawmakers have said that they would only consider supporting the legislation if it includes provisions for a public referendum.
Republican state senator Steve Litzow of Mercer Island has said he will support the legislation, and now Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley has also added her Republican vote. There are also two first-term members of the GOP who say they are still discussing the issue with constituents.
The Washington state House, with a 56-42 Democratic majority, is expected to have enough support to pass a same-sex marriage bill.
The state’s 60-day legislative session began on Monday.