Gov. Gregoire announces support for Washington State Gay Marriage

Gov. Chris Gregorie-D-WA Speaks up for Gay Marriage

Could Washington State be the 7th state to legalize gay marriage? With the help of Gov. Chris Gregoire, it is entirely possible! She announced Wednesday that she will put forth legislation to legalize marriage between lesbian and gay couples. The proposal will be introduced on Monday, January 9th during the legislative session.

In the past, Gregoire has supported same-sex partners having the same rights as married couples, however, has never advocated it publicly. While running for Governor in 2004, she announced that she did not think that Washington was “ready to support gay marriage.”

When she ran for a second term in 2008, she spoke in an interview, stating, “To me, the state’s responsibility is to absolutely ensure equality. The other is a religious issue, and I leave it to the churches to make that call about marriage.” But, this week Gregoire spoke for 20 minutes about her reasons to move forward, now.

Today, I’m announcing my support for a law that gives same-sex couples in our state the right to receive a marriage license in Washington – the same right given our heterosexual couples. I have been on my own journey. I will admit that. It has been a battle for me with my religion (Gregoire is Catholic). I have always been uncomfortable with the position that I have taken publicly. And then I came to realize the religions can decide what they want to do, but it is not OK for the state to discriminate. It is time (after 7 years),it is the right thing to do, and I will introduce the bill to make it happen.

In 2009, Washington State passed a bill that expanded the rights of same-sex partners; nearly 19,000 people are currently registered as domestic partners. Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), who is openly gay, stated to the Seattle Times“I think Gregoire’s support certainly helps, but we still have the struggle and we don’t have the votes yet, but I think we’re going to get them this year.”

Q-center’s Executive Director Barbara McCullough-Jones also spoke in response to Governor Gregoire announcement,

This is a great day for all citizens of Washington State. We applaud Gov. Gregoire’s leadership toward achieving marriage equality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long proven strong families make for a strong community. We look forward to assisting Gov. Gregoire to achieve this long overdue goal.

All of us here  at qPDX are keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that Oregon will follow the Governors’ lead and eventually become the 8th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Kudos Gregoire, you’re setting a great example!

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