Washington State Ponders Marriage Equality Law
By Jason Carson Wilson
Supporters of gay marriage show off their Washington United for Marriage bumper stickers.
Marriage equality making its way to Washington state. Lawmakers plan to ponder a gay marriage bill in 2012, according to The Columbian and Colorado Independent. That’s a contrast to its immediately southern neighbor.
National Organization for Marriage got an early holiday present—Basic Rights Oregon announced it didn’t plan to campaign for a similar bill. Openly gay Washington state Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, shared the plan to seek marriage equality.
With that said, Washington already has one of the nation’s most progressive domestic partnership laws. However, a gay marriage laws keep dying in the legislature.
That includes a bill, which Moeller and fellow openly gay state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle introduced this session. As far as the bill goes, Moeller chooses to see the glass half full.
“Our objective is to strengthen the social and legal protections for average, mainstream Washington families—the men, women and their children who make their homes in our communities and neighborhood,” Moeller said.
He stressed the proposed gay marriage law protects clergy and religious institutions’ rights to determine which marriage ceremonies they’ll perform and what marriages are religiously recognized.
The state’s Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1998, defines marriage between a man and woman, survived a 2006 legal challenge after the Washington Supreme Court upheld the anti-gay law.
The U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, has faced challenges of its own. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted for repeal last Thursday. A move to repeal DOMA, not surprisingly, enjoys strong Democratic support.
To support marriage equality in Washington, visit the Washington United for Marriage nonprofit organization’s website here.