by Jeremy Leaming
Washington state did not place the effort to advance equality before the whims of voters. Today at the Washington Capitol, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a measure granting lesbians and gay men the right to wed.
“This is a very proud moment,” Gregoire (pictured) said at the bill signing ceremony, the Seattle Times reports. The law will take effect in June, at the earliest, the newspaper states. Last week when the state’s House approved the bill sending it to her, Gregoire said the state would “no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love. We tell every child of same-sex couples that their family is every bit as equal and important as all other families in our state. And we take a major step toward completing a long and important journey to end discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Like the one enacted last year by New York, Washington’s marriage equality law includes language allowing houses of worship to refuse to wed gay couples or allow their facilities to be used for such ceremonies. Besides New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa recognize same-sex marriages. Washington, D.C. also allows gay couples to wed.
As is typical in all states where efforts to advance marriage equality have taken place, Religious Right organizations have rallied to counter them. Opponents of marriage equality in Washington are vowing to collect enough signatures, 241,153 by July 6, to place the newly enacted law before voters in November.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington and the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) are pushing the effort to collect those signatures. The Family Policy Institute describes itself as an outfit that grooms “leaders” to help “impart a biblical worldview for those committed to Judeo-Christian truths ….”