A Washington House panel on Monday will
begin considering a bill which would make Washington the seventh
state to legalize gay marriage.
The House Judiciary Committee will hold
its first public hearing on Senate Bill 6239 at 8AM.
If the panel approves the measure on
Monday, the full House could vote on it as early as Wednesday.
The Senate approved the bill last
Wednesday with greater support than expected.
Governor Chris Gregoire has pledged to
sign the bill into law.
Gregoire urges Americans to support gay marriage.)
Since 2009, Washington has given gay
and lesbian couples all the protections of marriage through domestic
partnerships. Opponents of the expansion – dubbed “everything
but marriage” – called for a referendum on the bill that expanded
the original law approved two years earlier. Voters decided against
repealing the law.
Opponents have promised a return to the
ballot box should lawmakers legalize gay marriage.
Marriage equality legislation is also
being considered in Maryland and New Jersey. The New Jersey Senate
is expected to vote on the measure on Tuesday.