Bloomberg News

Washington Lawmakers Move Closer to Approving Same-Sex Marriage

January 24, 2012

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Washington state backers of a bill to allow same-sex marriage may have enough votes in the Legislature to become the seventh U.S. state to legalize the practice.

State Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, a Democrat from Camano Island, issued a statement yesterday saying she’d back the measure, giving it the 25 votes needed to pass that chamber. The Washington Senate has 49 members.

“My choice is to allow all men and women in our state to enjoy the same privileges that are so important in my life,” Haugen said in the statement. “I know this announcement makes me the so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage.”

The legislation was requested by Governor Christine Gregoire, 64, a Democrat who isn’t seeking re-election. The proposal was already expected to pass the House, which is controlled by her party, said Guy Bergstrom, a spokesman for House Democrats.

New York lawmakers legalized the practice last year, joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia in granting same-sex couples the right to marry, according to the governor’s office.

Haugen said she was swayed by an amendment to the bill that would allow a church to refuse to marry a couple if it would contradict religious doctrine.

--Editors: Pete Young, Mark Tannenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at avekshin@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.


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