Washington House of Representatives votes for gay marriage

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Washington state’s House of Representatives has passed a bill to introduce gay marriage by 55 votes to 43. The state’s senate has already approved the measure which is also supported by the state governor.

The law would take effect 90 days after the governor Christine Gregoire signs the bill. But opponents have vowed to fight gay marriage with a ballot measure, similar to California’s Proposition 8 that would give voters the opportunity to overturn pro-gay legislation.

Yesterday, the US 9th District Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8 broke the United States constitution. Although the court has jurisdiction over a number of states, including Washington, its decision was limited to California.

Before the state legislature’s session began this year, Governor Gregoire announced her support for the move at the capital, Olympia.

She told a press conference: “It is time in Washington state for marriage equality. It’s the right thing to do.”

“Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families: making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment.

“For all couples, a state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”

Last week, she posted a video message to YouTube where she said: “As governor, I believe the state of Washington cannot be in the business of discrimination. As an American, a wife and mother, marriage equality is fair, just, and right. And it is time.”

Coffee giant Starbucks has been among multi-nationals based in Washington state to back the draft legislation.

A statement from the Seattle-based hot drink titan says it was “proud” to join other Washington-based employers like Microsoft and Nike as support for equal marriage brews in the state.