Most Issaquah representatives support ‘historic’ same-sex marriage bill
February 9, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 9, 2012
Republican Glenn Anderson on Wednesday joined local Democrats in the state House of Representatives to approve a landmark bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington.
The lawmakers representing Issaquah in the House joined the majority on the 55-43 decision. The delegation is comprised of Democrats, except for Anderson and state Rep. Jay Rodne.
The legislation heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire. The governor, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill in the days ahead.
In the Issaquah delegation, state Reps. Judy Clibborn, Marcie Maxwell, Deb Eddy and Ross Hunter supported the legislation.
Rodne opposed the measure to allow same-sex marriage. The legislator, a North Bend Republican, asked for a referendum clause to send the issue to voters in November; the proposed amendment failed.
“For the first time in Washington history, the state will sever a relationship with one of the child’s biological parents,” Rodne said amid the debate on the bill.
Anderson, a candidate for lieutenant governor, announced plans to support the measure in a meticulously-researched 1,182-word statement last month.
The decision in the House came a week after state senators approved a similar same-sex marriage bill in a 28-21 majority. Issaquah legislators in the upper chamber — Democrat Rodney Tom, and Republicans Cheryl Pflug and Steve Litzow — supported the Senate bill.
So far, a half-dozen states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont — plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage. Washington state has had a domestic partnership law — or “everything but marriage” law — in place since 2009.
(Anderson, Rodne and Pflug represent the 5th Legislative District; Clibborn, Maxwell and Litzow represent the 41st legislative district; and Eddy, Hunter and Tom represent the 48th Legislative District.)
“This is truly a historic day in Washington state, and one where I couldn’t be more proud,” Gregoire said in a statement. “With today’s vote, we tell the nation that Washington state will no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine praised the House decision as a “historic” milestone.
“This is an historic moment: Both houses of the Washington Legislature have now recognized the right of all adults to marry,” he said in a statement. “One more step to go.”
The push to legalize same-sex marriage still faces hurdles, even if the governor signs the measure into law as expected. Opponents pledged to challenge the same-sex marriage law on the November ballot.
Under state law, a referendum cannot be filed before Gregoire signs the legislation. Then, opponents have 90 days from the end of the legislative session — March 8 — to collect 120,577 signatures to put a referendum on the ballot.
If opponents fail to gather enough signatures to hold a referendum, same-sex marriages could start in June. If the measure goes to voters, election results determine whether same-sex marriage proceeds.