Washington Governor Chris Gregoire's
announcement that she will introduce a gay marriage bill is being
lauded by gay rights groups.
On Wednesday, Gregoire, who is in the
final year of her second term, held a press event surrounded by
marriage equality advocates at which she said it was time for
Washington to legalize gay marriage.
“As a wife, a mother, a student of
the law and a lifelong Washingtonian committed to equality and
justice, today, I'm announcing my support for a law that gives
same-sex couples in our state the right to receive a marriage license
in Washington – the same right given heterosexual couples. It is
time, it is the right thing to do, and I will introduce a bill to do
it,” Gregoire said at the news conference held in the state capital
“Our gay and lesbian families face
the same hurdles as heterosexual families … For all couples, a
state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to
enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and
those of their children if any, are protected by well-established
civil law,” she added.
Gregoire becomes the second governor
this year to announce support for such a bill. Maryland Governor
Martin O'Malley vowed last year that he would back this year's effort
in his state. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is credited with making
New York the sixth state to legalize gay marriage.
“2012 is already building on the
tremendous progress toward equality in 2011,” Stuart Gaffney, media
director for Marriage Equality USA, said in a statement. “Today's
historic announcement from Governor Gregoire shows the momentum from
marriage equality in New York and victories around the country is
spreading rapidly from coast to coast.”
Washington currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with domestic partnerships. Gregoire signed a series
of bills into law that expanded such unions to include most of the
protections of marriage.
poll released in October found that 55 percent of Washingtonians
would vote against a ballot initiative that attempted to repeal a gay