More equality news: Gov. Christine Gregoire (above) has signed into law a measure that will make same-sex marriage legal in Washington state. The law will go into effect June 7.
Washington makes for the seventh state to put marriage equality on the books.
“I’m proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal,” Gov. Gregoire said, surrounded by gay-rights supporters. On January 23, it was the same supporters who convinced the state Senate — including many Republicans — to pass the bill.
But there may be challenges ahead, the Associated Press reports. “Opponents planned to file a challenge Monday that could put the law on hold pending the outcome of a November vote. Separately, an initiative was filed at the beginning of the session that opponents of gay marriage say could lead to the new law being overturned.”
In New Jersey, the state Senate passed a bill Monday to recognize marriage equality. Governor Chris Christie, however, has promised to veto it. It may be an “exercise in futility,” as opponents say.
Christie is pushing for a referendum on the issue, saying a change such as same-sex marriage should be up to a popular vote. Democratic leaders insist otherwise, arguing that the majority can’t decide whether to protect a minority. After all, wouldn’t it be just as insulting if New Jersey voters put Gov. Christie’s opposite marriage on the ballot for a referendum?
The legal list, for now: New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
California, as it once was, may be the next domino. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in August 2010 ruled against California’s 2008 ballot amendment that banned same-sex couples from marrying, but last Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit, in a 2–1 vote, made clear the state of California had no interest in denying the right of marriage to the LGBT community.
“We consider whether that amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the Perry v. Brown ruling stated. “We conclude that it does.”
It continued later with this dead-on sentence: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
Legislative committees in Maryland heard testimony on gay marriage last week, AP reports.