Washington state Senator Jim Kastama of
Puyallup will declare his position on a gay marriage bill at a
Thursday news conference, the AP reported.
Kastama is among the half-dozen
lawmakers who remain undecided on the proposed measure.
The bill, which was formally introduced
in the Senate last week, would make Washington the seventh state to
legalize gay marriage after New York, Massachusetts, Iowa,
Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. Gay couples may also legally
marry in the District of Columbia.
The measure is expected to clear the
House with ease and Governor Chris Gregoire pledged her support
during a press conference earlier this month.
But supporters remain 2 votes shy of
passage in the Senate, making Kastama's announcement critical.
Washington state currently recognizes
gay couples with domestic partnerships. A 2009 expansion of the law
gave gay couples all the protections of marriage. A ballot
initiative to repeal the law failed.
In 1998, Kastama, a conservative
Democrat, voted in favor of a bill that defines marriage as a
heterosexual union. However, eleven years later he supported
expanding the state's domestic partnerships law.