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Same-Sex Marriage Bills Prevail in WA, NJ

Yesterday Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state making Washington the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill passed the Washington House of Representatives by a vote of 55 to 43 and the state Senate by a vote of 28 to 21.

Although the law is scheduled to go into effect June 7, if Preserve Marriage Washington, a group that filed a referendum, collects over 120,577 valid voter signatures by June 6, a hold will be put on the law until the November election.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, stated, “Today’s signature of the marriage equality law puts Washington on the road to fairness for all families. While those opposed to marriage for gay and lesbian couples will no doubt try to undo this progress, I am confident that equality will prevail in Washington.”

Also yesterday, the New Jersey Senate voted 24 to 16 in favor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Last year, the New Jersey Senate rejected a same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 20 to 14. The state Assembly is expected to vote on the bill this Thursday.

Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, stated, “It means the world isn’t changing, it means the world has already changed. So wake up and smell the equality.” Nevertheless, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) has pledge to veto the bill.

Currently, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Hawaii recognize same-sex civil unions. Same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses in Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Washington, DC.

Associated Press 2/14/12; Huffington Post 2/13/12; New York Times 2/13/12; Human Rights Campaign Statement 2/13/12

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