Washington: AP’s vote count shows hope for Senate

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2012

The State of Washington will be introducing an equality bill next week which will treat gay citizens who wish to marry the same as heterosexual citizens who wish to marry. The vote is expected to pass the House will little trouble, but the vote in the Senate is close. However the Associated Press reached out to the Senate members to get a feeling of where the votes lie. There are 49 Senators, so in order for the bill to pass, the support of 25 is required.

Here is what they found:

Sen. Cheryl Pflug

22 yes, including 20 Democrats and 2 Republicans. In addition to the previously mentioned Sen. Steve Litzow, Republican Sen. Cheryl Pflug indicated her support.

“I don’t feel diminished when another human being is allowed to exercise the same rights that I enjoy. I would feel diminished if I voted to deny others the right to exercise those same rights and freedoms.”

18 no, including 2 Democrats and 16 Republicans. Among the Republicans is Sen. Curtis King of Yakima who supported the domestic partnerships bill but does not feel ready to support full equality.

6 uncommitted, including 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans. Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D – Bothell) is leaning in favor of support and Democrats Brian Hatfield of Raymond, Jim Kastama of Puyallup and Paull Shin of Edmonds have previously voted against expanding rights but are now considering supporting the equality bill. Freshmen Republicans Sens. Joe Fain of Auburn and Andy Hill of Redmond are talking with their constituents before they make a determination either way.

Which leaves 3 about which the AP doesn’t provide information.

If supporters of equality can pick up three of the nine uncertain votes, then marriage equality is assured in the legislature.

Almost certainly opponents would begin collecting signatures to bring that vote to a referendum of the electorate. Anti-gay activists in 2009 found it very difficult to collect enough signatures to Ref. 71 on the ballot. As this is marriage rather than domestic partnerships it might be easier to collect signatures. But, on the other hand, anti-gay activists in Washington may be discouraged and find few willing to commit the time and energy into a project that they fear will only lose and start a trend towards voter-approved equality.

This promises to live up to Washington’s reputation for nail-biting situations.


January 12th, 2012

Even if the senate vote fails this time there is still hope. Just look at what happened in New York. All a failure in the senate will mean is that it will be a couple more years before couples in WA can marry.


January 12th, 2012

“Democrats Brian Hatfield of Raymond, Jim Kastama of Puyallup and Paull Shin of Edmonds have previously voted against expanding rights but are NOT considering supporting the equality bill.”

not or now?

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2012

NOW considering. What a difference one letter makes



January 12th, 2012

I’ve heard reports that Rosemary McAuliffe has declared her support. Supposedly she wanted to read the bill first, which was released today.


January 13th, 2012

I cannot imagine being kept any legal distance from my wife just to suit some other person’s social comfort ability. Politically speaking, I am somewhat libertarian, and I would never get in the way of two people who want any sort of legal union, in any form. As long as you don’t bother me or put my family in danger, I really don’t care what you do with your free time. I’m not going to get in anyone’s way. So, passing this recent law seems like a win for the folks who have been waiting for so long. I definitely have friends and colleagues who would be pleased.

Constitutionality – If “gay marriage” (legal/legislative emphasis being on the word “marriage”) is the current issue, then states have the constitutional right to decide for themselves. To the six states that have passed laws making it legal, I say, “More power to them!” This, of course, also means that other states have the right to pass laws against it (more power to them, too). Just one thing for the pro “marriage” moniker – know that polygamy activism is right around the corner. Those folks (who have genuine feelings on their issue, no doubt), will use the same legal arguments as the homosexual community to defend their rights – “equal protection for all.” When it comes to the law, I only demand consistency. If non-traditional marriage is okay, then that should apply to everyone, including ANY fringe groups who may or may not be out of touch with the rest of mainstream America.

Eric in Oakland

January 13th, 2012

“Just one thing for the pro “marriage” moniker – know that polygamy activism is right around the corner. Those folks (who have genuine feelings on their issue, no doubt), will use the same legal arguments as the homosexual community to defend their rights – ‘equal protection for all.'”

Andrey, it doesn’t seem that you are familiar with the legal arguments, if you believe that. The two issues aren’t remotely similar legally or logically. You might just as well say bestiality or incest as polygamy.


January 13th, 2012

They now have 23 votes in the bag. It seems pretty clear that they will get 2 votes out of the remaining 8 uncommitted. So this is a done deal and the big fight is the referendum.

Unlike R71, which had a divided and very poorly funded opposition, this will be a big battle. 2012 will see a huge number of gay rights battles and resources will be taxed to the limit. But I would rank WA as priority number 1, followed closely by Maine.

You could argue that Maine should be first as this is their second attempt, but ultimately I think WA gets the top slot as we need a win on the West Coast. Anyway, both states are crucial. After these 2, I’d rank MD (if it should get as far as the ballot), and after that MN, NC and lastly the CA curriculum battle. We also need to defend the IA state senate from a GOP takeover and we need to defend the 4 GOP senators in NY who are being targeted for retribution by NOM. The question is whether the gay community will step up to the plate with money.

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