Gay Marriage One Vote Shy In Washington State Senate

Jan 20, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Supporters and opponents of gay marriage plan to descend on Washington’s capitol on Monday . That’s when House and Senate committees are scheduled to take public testimony on legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. It now appears sponsors in the state Senate are just one vote shy of passage.

Twenty three Washington state senators signed onto the same sex marriage bill – including two Republicans. The measure needs 25 votes to pass in the Senate. Now, Senator Jim Kastama says he’ll cast a “yes” vote. The swing district Democrat says it’s a tough vote for him. Gay rights supporters applaud his announcement, but Kastama says he has childhood friends who may never forgive him.

Jim Kastama: “This decision is a deeply personal one. Unlike some of my colleagues in liberal districts, I will not return home to cheers and handshakes.”

In 1998, Kastama voted for the state’s Defense of Marriage Act. He says his thinking on the issue since then has evolved. Kastama is a candidate for Secretary of State. In the Washington House, it appears gay marriage backers have the votes they need for passage. Meanwhile, several major Northwest businesses have sent a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire endorsing same sex legislation. They include Microsoft, Group Health and Nike.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network