Washington likely seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage

Greta Kaul

The state of Washington is likely to become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reports.

The state’s public hearings on gay marriage began Monday. On Tuesday, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, announced she would cast the deciding vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Washington’s House of Representatives is believed to have enough votes in support of the measure to pass it. Washington’s governor has also voiced her support.

In a statement, Haugen said she deliberated over her vote in order to, “to reconcile my religious beliefs with my beliefs as an American, as a legislator, and as a wife and mother who cannot deny to others the joys and benefits I enjoy. This is the right vote and it is the vote I will cast when this measure comes to the floor.”

Opponents of the measure say they will attempt to challenge it with a public referendum.

New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Washington’s new law would ride on the heels of a 2007 domestic partnership law and a 2009 “everything but marriage” law, according to the Associated Press.

In November, Minnesota’s election ballot will feature an amendment to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage, which is already illegal under state laws.