As expected, the Washington state House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Wednesday with a 55-43 vote.
Having been passed by the state Senate a week ago, the bill now heads to Gov. Christine Gregoire; she is expected to sign it early next week, making Washington the seventh state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
A referendum process to let the people vote on the issue will begin as soon as the Legislature concludes its session in March; the Family Policy Institute of Washington said it will take 150,000 petition signatures get the referendum on the ballot.
Meanwhile, Illinois sought to follow in Washington’s footsteps Wednesday when legislation to supercede its current civil unions law with same-sex marriage was introduced in the House of Representatives. Washington passed domestic partnerships in 2009 that provide the equivalent of marriage.
“Civil union laws are the Trojan horse paving the way for same-sex marriage, there’s no doubt about it,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, CitizenLink’s senior director of Issue Analysis. “So far, passage of civil union or expansive domestic partnership laws has ushered in either legislative or court-ordered same-sex marriage in five states.
“The same strategy is operating now in New Jersey and Illinois, where civil union laws are not enough,” she added. ” So when you hear gay activists ask for civil unions, just replace those two words with ‘same-sex marriage.’ That’s the real goal in every case — redefining marriage for everyone.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about what Washington residents can do after Gregoire signs the bill.
Read Illinois HB 5170.