Applause and cheers from the gallery as soon as the bill passed. / Photo courtesy The Stranger
It's official, another historic vote, and Washington State is one step closer to having true marriage equality. Now that the Senate has passed the Marriage Equality bill, it goes to the House (where it's assured passage) and then Governor Chris Gregoire, who has promised to sign the bill into law. Slog had a live blog of tonight's proceedings. We noticed some interesting moments, where members of the Senate revealed personal information. Such as
Seantor Kevin Ranker (D-40) begins his speech with this: "As the son of a gay man..." and then, as Eli Sanders reports for the Slog: "Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44), noting that this isn't a political winner in
his district, says that he's voting yes because of his experience serving aside gays and lesbians in the U.S. military: 'How can I look them in the eye, Mr. President, if I vote no on this bill?'"
The biggest lesson of the night? It seems most people have personal stories of lesbian and gay friends and family. Another reason why coming out remains a vital and necessary personal, and political action.
In a statement, Gov. Gregoire said:
Tonight the Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination. I believe that this decision should be made by our state Legislature, and I’m proud our elected leaders recognized that responsibility.
Tonight we saw the best of Washington and our leaders. They were respectful and they were kind. I thank Sen. Ed Murray for his leadership. This vote was courageous and was only possible with bipartisan support. That support shows Washington’s commitment to equality. Fair-minded and responsible leaders crafted a bill that protects religious freedoms while ensuring equal rights. I commend our state Senators who acknowledged tonight that separate but equal is not equal. Tonight our families are better for this vote. Our kids have a brighter future for this bill. And our state is better for this bill. I encourage the House to approve this bill and get it to my desk for my signature. I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry the person they love.”