Same-sex marriage

Washington legalizes same-sex marriage

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed legislation [HB 6239] Monday legalizing same-sex marriage, making Washington the eighth jurisdiction in the US to offer marriage to same-sex couples. Washington had previously granted expanded domestic partnership rights rather than full marriage or civil union rights to same-sex couples. Gregoire´s signature completed a campaign for marriage rights that started in 2006. Gregoire, a strong personal advocate of same-sex marriage, stated after signing:

As governor for more than seven years, this is one of my proudest moments. And most surely today is a proud day in the history of the Legislature and the state of Washington. It is a day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights. A day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair. We stood up for equality and we did it together- Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, young and old, and a variety of religious faiths. I´m proud of who and what we are in this state.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have promised to challenge the imminent law with a referendum, similar to Proposition 8 in California. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled earlier this week that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. If a ballot initiative in Washington is not achieved, same-sex marriages could begin as early as June.

The Washington state House of Representatives approved the bill to legalize same-sex marriage last Thursday while the Senate passed the bill two weeks ago. New Jersey is also considering legalizing same-sex marriage soon, although it currently has a civil union system in place. In November, a lawsuit was allowed to continue in New Jersey, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the state civil union law as a contravention of both the Fourteenth Amendment and the New Jersey State Constitution. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. The case for same-sex marriage was recently made by JURIST contributor Kimberly Bennett in Judicial Activism and the Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage.

(Published by Jurist.org - February 13, 2012)

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