Dozens of state lawmakers in Washington
are expected next week to introduce a bill that would legalize gay
marriage in the state.
Democratic state Senator Ed Murray from
Seattle is the chief sponsor of the bill.
On Thursday, state Rep. Jim Moeller
announced he would join the effort.
“Let's trust adults to make the call
– not any state office, agency or bureaucracy – when it comes to
adult decisions such as marital vows,” Moeller, an openly gay
Democrat from Vancouver, said in a statement.
“Our objective is to strengthen the
social and legal protections for average mainstream Washington
families – the men, women and their children who make their homes
in our communities and neighborhoods,” he said.
Murray, who is also openly gay, has
previously sponsored bills shoring up the state's domestic
partnership law. The latest expansion approved in 2009 gives gay and
lesbian couples all the legal protections of marriage.
Lawmakers in 1998 approved a law that
defines marriage in Washington as a heterosexual union. It survived
a legal challenge in 2006.
During a recent interview with National
Public Radio (NPR), Murray said the recent passage of such a law in
New York had renewed momentum in Washington.
“I think the public is now with us.
And that's why I think we should move it in the Legislature. And
that's why we waited. That's why we did domestic partnership first;
the public wasn't with us yet. I think they are there now.”
“I think we've changed hearts and
minds,” Murray told MyFox 28.