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Washington state senator Ed Murray called historic passage of a marriage equality bill in his chamber late last evening a "stunning event" -- and said the bill likely faces heated right-wing opposition in the form of a referendum.
Murray, lead sponsor of the Senate bill and one of several gay legislators in the state, toldThe Seattle Times, "For a lot of people in my age group, this is a stunning event. It's something we did not believe would happen in our lifetime."
Following Senate passage of the bill in a 28-21 vote, the legislation now moves on to the state House, where it is expected to pass by a wide margin.
Washington governor Chris Gregoire, who has pushed for marriage equality and has pledged to sign the bill, said in a statement of Wednesday's vote, "I look forward to the day when all Washington citizens have equal opportunity to marry the person they love."
Though Wednesday night debate over the bill in Olympia was described in reports as "civil," one gay marriage opponent on hand told the Times, "I'm a Christian, and this is not pleasing to God." The speaker, Jane Sterland of Centralia, added, "I feel very grieved that the bill is even in question." (Read the full report here.)
Ed Murray: Washington Marriage Vote "A Stunning Event"" >