An anticipated push to legalize gay
marriage in Washington begins on Monday, the Seattle
Washington United for Marriage, a
coalition of gay rights, labor, civil rights and religious groups,
will kick off the effort Monday with a press conference, followed by
a series of town hall style meetings.
Senator Ed Murray, a Democrat from
Seattle, is the chief sponsor of the legislation.
“We're going to push it,” Murray
told the paper. “I believe 2012 is the best chance we've ever had
to make marriage equality a reality.”
If approved, Washington would become
the seventh state behind Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Iowa, Vermont and, most recently, New York to legalize marriage
between two people of the same sex. Gay and lesbian couples can also
marry in the District of Columbia.
Murray, who is 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.
Gay rights opponents who put the
domestic partnership law up for a vote (it survived) are expected to
challenge a gay marriage law, if approved by lawmakers.
Lawmakers in 1998 approved a law that
defines marriage in Washington as a heterosexual union. The state
Supreme Court upheld the law's constitutionality in 2006.