A bill which would make Washington the
seventh state to legalize gay marriage cleared a House panel on
Monday, the AP reported
The House Judiciary Committee approved
the measure with a 7 to 6 party-line vote.
Members rejected three amendments
offered by Republicans, including one that would have expanded the
bill's religious exemptions to include private businesses and
Lacey All, chair of Washington United
for Marriage, thanked the committee for its work.
“As the bill continues to progress in
both chambers in Olympia, it is clear that momentum is on our side,”
All said in a statement. “The stories of love, honor, commitment
and family that our legislators are hearing from their constituents
continue to be the single most important factor that sets us apart
from those who oppose this bill.”
The vote came as the Senate is expected
to vote on its companion bill later this week.
Senator Ed Murray, the chief sponsor of
the bill in the Senate, said he expects the measure to reach the
Senator floor on Wednesday.
Supporters of marriage equality have
said they have sufficient support to clear both chambers and
Democratic Governor Chris Gregorie has said she will sign the bill.
However, opponents have vowed to
challenge the law with a referendum.
Washington currently recognizes gay and
lesbian couples with domestic partnerships.