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:
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.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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