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Washington’s Senate approves marriage equality legislation after long debate

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.


  1. Tomas - University Place, WA
    Posted February 1st, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Sadly, my senator did not vote for.

    I guess that is something that will have to be corrected next election time, Mike.

    That makes several things now you do not represent me on.


  2. Terry
    Posted February 3rd, 2012 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    It is disappointing that this vote is celebrated. For these temporary lawmakers to vote for such a permanent change to our society is blatant legislative tyranny. And for them to fail to exempt people like photographers and wedding planners, florists, etc. from participating in cerimonies on the objectional grounds of religious beliefs is shameful. No one should celebrate tyranny. A vote of the people on such an important issue would have been the way to go.

  3. Luke T
    Posted February 7th, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    If giving all citizens equal rights equals tyranny, then give me more of it!

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  1. By Morning Rundown for February 2nd, 2012 on February 2nd, 2012 at 10:14 AM

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