Wash. State Senate Introduces Marriage Bill

By Neal Broverman

Originally published on Advocate.com February 14 2011 9:25 PM ET

Lawmakers in Olympia, Wash., introduced a marriage equality bill in the state senate Monday — Valentine's Day — and a companion bill is set to be introduced in the state house Tuesday.

Same-sex marriage has been banned in Washington since 1998, when the legislature passed the state's Defense of Marriage Act. Washington's DOMA doesn't prevent the legislature from reversing the ban on marriage equality, and Democrats control both houses of the legislature as well as the governor's mansion. Gov. Christine Gregoire signed an expanded domestic-partnership bill into law in 2009 (which was almost repealed by voters in November of that year), though it's not clear what her thoughts are on same-sex marriage.

Monday's senate bill was introduced by gay state senator Ed Murray of Seattle, reports the Victory Fund's Gay Politics blog.

"Gay and lesbian families in Washington now enjoy the same state spousal rights that their married straight friends enjoy — except for the name ‘marriage,'" Murray said in a release. "The recognition that their loving, lifelong commitment is no different from the loving, lifelong commitment of straight couples is the final step to achieving full equality. I believe the legislature and the public are both ready to take that final step."