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Washington governor Chris Gregoire will sign into law a marriage equality bill at a historic Monday ceremony in Olympia.
The Associated Press reports that the governor will sign the bill, recently passed by state House and Senate lawmakers, at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time in the state capitol's reception room. A live stream of the signing ceremony will be broadcast here.
"I knew now was the time to face it," Gov. Gregoire said in an interview with The Advocate last month after throwing her political weight behind the bill. "And as I faced it, both as a mom and as a wife, and as a Catholic, as a governor, and wrote it down on a piece of paper, the logic of it all fell into the words that I put down there."
The law, which would make Washington the seventh state plus the District of Columbia where marriage rights for same-sex couples are legal, will go into effect on June 7, the AP reports. Social conservative groups have vowed to collect the requisite signatures needed to put a referendum or an initiative on the November ballot.
Such a move would almost certainly be challenged in court if antigay advocates were successful, given the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling last week that California's Proposition 8 violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when it took away the right to marry for same-sex couples.
In Washington, LGBT rights have been under attack by a ballot measure campaign before. In 2009, following passage of an "everything but marriage" domestic partnership bill, antigay groups sought to repeal the legislation via Referendum 71. The effort failed, however, with 53% of voters opposing it.
Passage of the bill is likely to prompt a response from Republican presidential candidates who reiterated their opposition to marriage equality during appearances at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. last week. Rick Santorum will be speaking with marriage equality opponents in Olympia today a few hours after the governor signs the bill, followed by a campaign rally at the Washington Historical Museum in Tacoma at 7 p.m.
Advocate.com will have updates on the bill signing later today.