Just a day after the Ninth Circuit Court struck down Proposition 8 in California, the Washington state House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage by a vote of 55-43. The bill, which now heads to Governor Chris Gregoire to be signed, will legalize same-sex marriage but also protects churches, religious groups, and affiliated institutions from being charged with discrimination against same-sex couples.
Nevertheless, this is a huge step for LGBT equality in America. Once signed into law, Washington will become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage, joining Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, and Washington DC. California could soon join this group if the Supreme Court upholds the Ninth Circuit’s verdict on Prop 8, and New Jersey could also legalize same-sex marriage soon.
Anti-gay groups and their Republican allies are already vowing to overturn the legislation via two referendum measures, one for repeal, and one that would define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman (Similar to California’s Prop 8). For now, the LGBT community can celebrate yet another step for freedom and equality before stepping up to defend it against Right Wing attacks. 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year for LGBT rights.
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