Washington Legislature Passes Historic Marriage Equality Bill

February 9, 2012 5:22 pm

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Expected Signing by Governor Will Make Washington the Seventh State to Allow Same-Sex Couples to Marry

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Washington today hailed the passage by the Washington House of Representatives of a bill granting lesbian and gay couples in the state the freedom to marry as a historic step towards fairness for families across the country.

“Today is an early Valentine’s Day,” said Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington. “We’re so proud to have Washington join the ranks of states extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. More and more people are realizing that civil marriage should be available to and shared by all loving, committed couples.”

The vote comes one day after a ruling by a federal appeals court found that a California ballot initiative that excludes same-sex couples from marriages to be unconstitutional. Currently, six states plus Washington, D.C. allow same-sex couples to marry, three other states recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed elsewhere, nine states have full domestic partnerships or civil unions and three more states have more limited domestic partnership registries.

“Washingtonians should be proud of their legislature and their governor for standing on the right side of history by securing fairness and dignity for all families,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “When loving couples make the kind of commitment that is at the heart of marriage, it’s not fair to exclude them from the protections that only marriage can provide.”

The ACLU is working with other organizations to secure the freedom to marry across the country, including passing a marriage bill in Maryland, passing a voter initiative in Maine that would allow same-sex couples to marry and defeating proposed anti-marriage amendments in Minnesota and North Carolina. The ACLU is also seeking domestic partnership protections in Montana, Missouri and Alaska.

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