Good news for gay marriage in Washington state
While California waits for an appellate court ruling on whether Proposition 8 is unconstitutionally discriminatory, legislators in Washington state say they have the votes to legalize same-sex marriage there, which would make it the seventh state to do so. The governor already has vowed to sign the bill.
Which has to have supporters of same-sex marriage in this state wondering: was it just a matter of bad timing in California? The state Supreme Court struck down a voter-passed ban on such marriages in 2008. That was followed a few months later by the victory of Proposition 8, which embedded the ban into the state Constitution. The current lawsuit claims that the marriage ban violates the U.S. Constitution's non-discrimination provisions.
Times have changed in a few very active years on the gay rights front. In Washington state, the number of people who say they support same-sex marriage has increased. A University of Washington poll found that if the legislation passes, and if a subsequent referendum were held, 55% of state residents would vote to uphold the law and allow the marriages.
The more the movement spreads in the nation, the more opinion will shift toward recognition that it is discriminatory to withhold the joys and privileges of married life -- though sometimes that life can seem a little short on the privileges -- from gay and lesbian couples. So let's anticipate with glee the possibility that these couples will soon be able to wed a bit farther up the West Coast, at the same time that we wonder how the vote would go if Proposition 8 were facing the test in 2012 instead of 2008.
Photo credit: Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo