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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2012
CONTACT: Zach Silk | Washington United for Marriage | (206) 351-6437 (c)
Gov. Chris Gregoire Signs Historic Marriage Law in Washington State
Passage caps tenure of progress under Governor’s leadership
OLYMPIA – Washington United for Marriage, a broad statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associations that will work to obtain civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington State in 2012, today praised Gov. Chris Gregoire for signing SB 6239, the marriage equality legislation, into law. Her action follows bipartisan votes in the Washington House and Senate.
“We thank Gov. Gregoire for her tremendous leadership in passing this landmark legislation,” said Lacey All, Chair of Washington United for Marriage. “From her moving remarks endorsing the legislation to her unwavering courage and commitment throughout the legislative process, the Governor has been a key ally in forming the bipartisan coalition that passed this bill. Without her years of dedication to equality, Washington’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community would not enjoy antidiscrimination protections, domestic partnerships or marriage equality. We owe her our heartfelt gratitude and sincerest thanks.”
“We’re so excited to see this day finally come in Washington state,” said Lisa Brodoff and Lynn Grotsky, longtime partners from Olympia. “We’ve been watching for years as the momentum for marriage equality has spread across the country, and now we’re able to experience the overwhelming joy that so many others have felt. We know this fight is not yet over, but we’ll stand with our friends, family and neighbors to make sure that marriage equality is defended at the ballot in November.”
“With the advancement of equality symbolized by the Governor’s signature today, I truly believe that God is smiling on the people of Washington state,” said Rev. Mark Travis of Congregational Church on Mercer Island. “For too long, faith has been used as a means to divide us as a community, state and nation – a proposition I patently reject. My faith leads me to believe, as the Governor does, that we are One Washington, a state where everyone is treated with equal dignity and respect despite any differences we may have.”
Opponents wishing to challenge the new law would have until June to collect 120,557 valid signatures – the amount required to place a referendum on the November 2012 ballot. Failure to do so would result in lesbian and gay couples being able to legally marry immediately following the passage of the deadline. If the referendum qualifies for November’s ballot, same-sex couples would not be permitted to marry until the outcome of that vote is known.
At this time, six states plus the District of Columbia recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Nine states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.
Washington United for Marriage is a coalition of organizations, congregations, unions, and business associations working together to secure civil marriage for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples. To find more information and learn how you can help, visit WashingtonUnitedForMarriage.