Wonderful, wonderful news to celebrate tonight: After a debate that stretched for more than an hour and a half, and saw the adoption and rejection of more than a dozen amendments, Washington’s state Senate has voted to approve legislation making marriage equality the law of the land.
The vote was twenty-eight to twenty-one. Four Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in voting yes in favor of the bill, SB 6239, prime sponsored by Senator Ed Murray and requested by Governor Chris Gregoire.
The roll call was as follows:
Voting Yea: Senators Brown, Chase, Conway, Eide, Fain, Fraser, Frockt, Harper, Hatfield, Haugen, Hill, Hobbs, Kastama, Keiser, Kilmer, Kline, Kohl-Welles, Litzow, McAuliffe, Murray, Nelson, Pflug, Prentice, Pridemore, Ranker, Regala, Rolfes, and Tom
Voting Nay: Senators Baumgartner, Becker, Benton, Carrell, Delvin, Ericksen, Hargrove, Hewitt, Holmquist Newbry, Honeyford, King, Morton, Padden, Parlette, Roach, Schoesler, Sheldon, Shin, Stevens, Swecker, and Zarelli
The Republicans who voted in favor of marriage equality were Joe Fain, Andy Hill, Steve Litzow, and Cheryl Pflug. The Democrats who voted against were Jim Hargrove, Paull Shin, and Tim Sheldon.
In a statement following the passage of the bill, Murray thanked his colleagues and all who have worked to help make today’s vote a reality.
“The citizens of Washington state have come to understand that lesbian and gay families are their neighbors and their friends,” Murray said. “We share the same short moment of life. We like you seek the chance to live our lives, to experience joy, to care for our families, to contribute to our families and to the nation we love.”
Governor Chris Gregoire – who watched the vote from the wings of the Senate chamber – released a statement congratulating the Senate for approving SB 6239.
“Tonight the Washington State Senate stood up for what is right and told all families in our state that they are equal and that the state cannot be in the business of discrimination. I believe that this decision should be made by our state Legislature, and I’m proud our elected leaders recognized that responsibility. Tonight we saw the best of Washington and our leaders. They were respectful and they were kind. I thank Senator Ed Murray for his leadership.”
“This vote was courageous and was only possible with bipartisan support. That support shows Washington’s commitment to equality.”
“Fair-minded and responsible leaders crafted a bill that protects religious freedoms while ensuring equal rights. I commend our state Senators who acknowledged tonight that separate but equal is not equal.”
“Tonight our families are better for this vote. Our kids have a brighter future for this bill. And our state is better for this bill. I encourage the House to approve this bill and get it to my desk for my signature. I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry the person they love.”
This post will be updated with more details as the evening goes on.