Lambda Legal Applauds After Washington State Legislature Passes Marriage Equality

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“Marriage equality for all marches on.”

Date

Date: 
02/08/2012
Camilla Taylor

“Marriage equality for all marches on.  Today, members of the Washington House of Representatives joined their colleagues in the State Senate and passed a bill that ends the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Washington."

(Olympia, WA, February 8, 2012) – Today, the Washington state legislature voted to pass the marriage equality bill endorsed by Governor Christine Gregoire, setting the stage for Washington to join the growing list of states where same-sex couples have won the freedom to marry.

Lambda Legal National Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor issued the following statement after today’s historic vote:

“Marriage equality for all marches on.  Today, members of the Washington House of Representatives joined their colleagues in the State Senate and passed a bill that ends the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in Washington.  For this, we congratulate Washington United for Marriage, the coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and business associations that has worked tirelessly to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.

“The fight for marriage equality in Washington, as has been true in similar battles across the country, has not been easy.  In 2004, Lambda Legal and Legal Voice (formerly the Northwest Women’s Law Center) filed a lawsuit in state court seeking marriage equality (Andersen v. King County).  While we won in trial court, that verdict and a similar one secured by the ACLU of Washington were overturned in a narrow 5-4 ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2006.

“However, those cases and the work of many individuals and organizations in the intervening years laid the foundation for the legislative victory we celebrate today.  We thank Governor Gregoire for her leadership, and the many brave members of the state legislature who voted for equality.  We also know the battle is not over and pledge to stand with our coalition partners to protect this historic legislation.”   

Under Washington state law, the earliest same-sex couples will be able to get marriage licenses will be June 7, 2012.  Marriage equality opponents are expected to launch a referendum effort to overturn the law, and if they secure enough signatures by June 6 to qualify for the ballot, implementation of the law will be delayed until after the vote.  Currently, six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to marry.  Marriage equality legislation is currently moving through the New Jersey state legislature, a marriage equality bill was introduced in Illinois, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a ruling declaring California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 amendment unconstitutional, paving the way for the restoration of marriage equality in that state.

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Contact Info

Press contact:  Tom Warnke, Cell: 213-841-4503: Email: twarnke@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.