Washington Gov to Introduce Gay Marriage Bill


Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that she will introduce legislation to allow same-sex marriage in Washington state.

At a press conference Wednesday, Gregoire told a group of marriage equality supporters that the time had come for this historic move:

“It’s time, it’s the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do it,” Gregoire said. “I say that as a wife, a mother, a student of the law, and above all as a Washingtonian with a lifelong commitment to equality and freedom. Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage.That’s a version of the discriminatory ‘separate but equal’ argument.”

If the state’s legislators were to pass a marriage equality bill it would make Washington the seventh state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The other states include Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.

In a statement Gregoire notes: ”Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families–making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment.

“For all couples, astate marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”

Gregoire has previously opposed same-sex marriage and when running for governor in 2004 said that she believed that while domestic partnerships should be legalized she thought marriage was a religious issue.

More via the Seattle Times:

In a 2008 interview, when she ran for a second term, Gregoire explained her beliefs in more detail.

“There are two issues here,” she said. “One is the state’s responsibility. To me, the state’s responsibility is to absolutely ensure equality. The other is a religious issue, and I leave it to the churches to make that call about marriage.”

Read more from the Seattle Times here.

Gregoire has, however, advocated in other areas. In 2006 she signed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Gregoire has also consistently supported domestic partnerships, signing House Bill 3104 which gave additional rights and responsibilities to the already established domestic partnership registry.

Gregoire has since signed legislation to further those rights, including legislation in 2009 that requires all state agencies to ensure all privileges, immunities, rights, benefits, and responsibilities granted to married individuals are granted to those on the state domestic partnership registry.

However, it now appears Gregoire has evolved to supporting full marriage equality.

“Throughout our history, we have fought discrimination,” Gregoire said. “We have joined together to recognize equality for racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, immigrants.Please join today to support equality again in our great state. It is the right thing to do and it is time.”

Given Gregoire’s previous desire to avoid a clash with religious rights it appears likely that her gay marriage bill might be modeled on the New York legislation which was able to win Republican support because it stated explicitly the existing right for religious institutions to refuse to be involved with same-sex marriage — however, the exact details of Gregoire’s legislation are unknown and at this stage this is just conjecture.

Democrats have a 27-22 majority in the Washington Senate and enjoy a 56-42 majority in the House, but in the past several Democrats have opposed extending rights to same-sex couples so success is by no means guaranteed.

The state’s 60-day legislative session begins on Monday.

Related Reading:

Gov. O’Malley Takes Lead in Maryland Marriage Equality Fight

No Promised Concession in NC Gay Marriage Amendment

Maine Gay Marriage Push Gets OK

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

Yay! That's a great supporting statement Gregiore made.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue6 years ago

(@Paula M.) Feeling a little constitutionally subversive today are ya?

Last I checked the US was not the fictional "Christian Nation, nor a Taliban flavored theocracy, but here is your consolation burka prize in reward for your constitutional subversion. :)

Lorna W.
Lorna W6 years ago

And Paula, you will be judged for being so closeminded and ignorant.

Deborah D.
Deborah D6 years ago

Thank you, Governor Gregoire for your candor and courage.
We need more leaders like you to pave the way for acceptance
and love towards everyone--no matter race, sexual orientation,
ethnicity or gender.

KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Hunter W.
Hunter W6 years ago

I am proud to live in Washington state where we have a smart governor! :)
This is a huge step in the right direction, and to those who are religious, your religion should NEVER dictate another's life!
Paula, judgement day is a belief that not everyone holds. If you believe that, then fine, but not everyone does, thus many people don't care. They have other religions, or none at all and if a man wants to marry a man, it is not your place (or "God"s place) to tell them they can't.

Mary L.
Mary L6 years ago

Don't beam me up Scotty! Intelligent signs of life do exist in isolated pockets in the USA.

Now if my company had offices in Washington I'd be putting in for a transfer tomorrow.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

Calm down, if your imaginary "god" is so almighty and all powerful, why doesn't "he" strike
down all these "unrighteous" who do all this "sex" stuff? My goodness, isn't it your fairy
god's "right" to get into everybody's bedroom and watch them have sex? In fact "god" doesn't
want anybody to have any sex stuff at all, does "he"? That sex stuff is so filthy and dirty and sinful, isn't it? The only time sex is holy and sacred is when you don't have it, right? Like the celibate Catholic Priests? Or is it only holy and sacred with altar boys? It must be, because Catholic Priests have been doing that for 2,000 years. I thought is was just part of
their religion til recently.

Dr Clue
Dr Clue6 years ago

Is it not a telling contradiction that some right wing candidates for president campaign out both sides of their face on this issue?

Out one face ranting about "states rights" and out the other face promising to invalidate gay marriages of all states!

Given any plank of their party they can in a vacuum whip up some almost plausible snake oil but taken together their positions are so non sequitur as to make the most deranged mental health patient seem positively sane in comparison.

As relates to government , marriage is but a civil contract, and any parties who are mentally capable of understanding the obligations should be able to enter into that contract and enjoy all the rights that from there flow.

Allan Yorkowitz
.6 years ago

Hello Washington!