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Following the Senate, the Washington House voted 55-43 today to approve marriage equality and send the bill to the governor, who has said she will sign it.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Christine Gregoire said Wednesday afternoon that she expects to sign the bill early next week, making Washington the seventh state plus the District of Columbia to legalize same-sex marriage.

A round of amendments from Republicans looking to stop the bill all failed. One of the failed amendments had tried to require a referendum before same-sex marriage could be approved.

Sen. Ed Murray, the gay man who has led much of the push for same-sex marriage in the state, said he and others are already gearing up for an expected referendum in November spurred by a petition drive. He told TVW that first a "decline to sign" drive would try to keep a repeal measure off the ballot.

Republican representative Jay Rodne delivered an impassioned condemnation of the marriage equality bill, reminding the House that "what we do today can be undone by a future legislature" or at the ballot box.

Rodne called the bill "progressive reengineering" and "an exercise of power that contravenes human nature." He claimed it harms children and families.

"Children who are going to be brought into this world in the context of a same-sex marriage will have their relationship with one of their biological parents forever severed by force of law," he lamented.

Democratic representative Jamie Pedersen, who is gay, is in a domestic partnership, which Washington approved under a law known as "everything but marriage." He said his four children deserve to know "their daddy and their papa have made that kind of a lifelong commitment to each other."

"Marriage is the word that society uses to describe a committed lifelong relationship," said Pedersen.

Democratic representative Laurie Jinkins said the bill will strengthen families, especially hers. She said her partner of 23 years and their son helped motivate her yes vote.

"All we do here — education, health care, jobs — we do all of those things for one simple beautiful reason," she said. "It's for our families."

Tags: World, World

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