Gay Marriage Passes Wash. Senate After Civil Debate

Feb 2, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Four Washington Republicans joined majority Democrats Wednesday night to approve a same-sex marriage bill in the state Senate. The historic vote represents a major step forward for gay rights supporters. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins was there for the debate.

To be sure, this was mostly a party-line vote. With most Republicans saying “no” to gay marriage and Democrats largely casting “aye” votes. But there were notable exceptions. Freshman Republican Senator Steve Litzow of suburban Seattle spoke in support of allowing same-sex couples to wed.

“Marriage promotes responsibility, commitment and stability. Family values that we all believe are important,” Litzow told his colleagues.

On the Democratic side, longtime Senator Jim Hargrove said his faith would not permit him to cast a yes vote. The debate ended with prime sponsor Senator Ed Murray, who’s openly gay, issuing an olive branch from he and his longtime partner to the entire chamber.

“Hopefully in the future, regardless of how you vote on this bill, an invitation will be in the mail,” Murray said.

After the Senate vote, the Washington House is expected to easily pass same-sex marriage - perhaps as early as next week. Governor Chris Gregoire has said she will sign it into law. Opponents have vowed a repeal effort at the ballot this fall.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network [020112AJ_MarriageWrap.jpg: Gay Rights Supporters Applaud After The Washington State Senate Votes To Approve Same-Sex Marriage Legislation. By Austin Jenkins.]