Washington Senator Patty Murray has said she is proud of her state's effort to legalize gay marriage.

Murray voiced support for the effort in a message to her Facebook and Twitter followers.

“I am proud of the Washington legislature for taking this step toward equality for gay and lesbian families. I support this important effort and look forward to its passage,” Murray wrote.

The 61-year-old Murray last year publicly flipped on the issue of gay marriage.

In 1996, Murray was among the Democrats who voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans federal recognition of the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

In announcing last year her support for a bill that would repeal DOMA, Murray said it was time to end the policy and “make sure all married couples are treated equally in the eyes of the federal government.”

Governor Chris Gregoire, who previously signed bills expanding the state's current domestic partnership law, last week publicly endorsed marriage equality for the first time.

The bill, officially filed on Friday, remains two votes shy of passage. Its first public hearing is scheduled for January 23.