Gay marriage will be on the minds of
lawmakers in Washington state and New Jersey on Monday.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire will
sign a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers into law at 11:30AM,
making Washington the seventh state to legalize such unions.
The Democrat-controlled House approved
the measure with a 55-43 vote last Wednesday, a day after a federal
court declared California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, in
violation of the United States Constitution, and one week after
the Washington Senate passed the measure with a wider margin than
Gregoire for the first time endorsed
marriage equality at a press conference introducing the bill last
month. Citing her Catholic faith, Gregoire said she struggled with
The law will go into effect on June 7
provided opponents do not gather sufficient signatures to put it up
for a vote. In that case, marriage equality would be put on hold
pending the outcome of a November election.
Recent polls have found that a narrow
majority of Washington voters do not favor repeal. Since 2007,
Washington has recognized gay couples with domestic partnerships. A
2009 effort to repeal those protections was rejected by voters.
New Jersey lawmakers will vote on
similar legislation this week. The Senate will debate the issue on
Monday and the Assembly on Thursday.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney has
said he believes the legislation will clear both chambers.
“It is absolutely going to pass on
Monday, and I expect it to pass the Assembly on Thursday, and it's
going to go to the governor's desk,” Sweeney said during an
appearance on WNYC's the Brian Lehrer Show.
Sweeney, who recently called his 2010
vote against marriage equality “wrong,” also conceded that he
does not have the 27 votes in the Senate to override an expected veto
from Republican Governor Chris Christie. Christie has said he
supports the state's civil unions law.
“If the governor vetoes the bill,
we're gonna fight to override the governor,” Sweeney said. “I
have two years to do it almost, so that gives us plenty of time to
work on people.”