Marriage Equality: Seven States and Counting!

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February 9, 2012

What an exciting week in the fight for marriage equality! We are thrilled that the Washington State Legislature approved a marriage equality bill that Gov. Christine Gregoire will soon sign into law.

This comes on top of several major developments: the historic Ninth Circuit decision declaring California's Prop 8 unconstitutional, the hearings before the New Jersey State Legislature on a marriage equality bill and Lambda Legal's ongoing marriage lawsuit in that state, and the recent introduction of marriage bills in Maryland and Illinois. We have a lot more work to do, but we are moving closer to equality.

Lambda Legal is proud to be part of Washington United for Marriage, a coalition of almost 100 organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that worked tirelessly to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples.

The fight for marriage equality in Washington 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 the trial court, that ruling and a similar one secured by the ACLU of Washington were overturned by the Washington State Supreme Court in 2006.

However, those cases and the work of many individuals and organizations laid the foundation for the legislative victory we celebrate today. We thank Gov. Gregoire for her leadership, and the many brave members of the state legislature who voted for equality.

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. If they succeed in getting on the ballot, we will be there, fighting alongside our partners in Washington United for Marriage to ensure marriage equality is preserved.

Today, we can all celebrate—tomorrow, we continue to fight for equality in Washington and around the country.