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Washington voters approve same-sex marriage

Opponents of Washington's new law [SB 6239, PDF] legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] conceded defeat Thursday in their efforts for a referendum veto. Referendum 74 [text] gave Washington voters the choice to accept or reject the state same-sex marriage legislation, which was signed [JURIST report] into law by Governor Christine Gregoire [official website] in February. While the referendum was too close to call [Seattle Times report] for most of the week, the measure to legalize same-sex marriage finally passed with approximately 52.55 percent [materials] of the statewide vote. With Maine and Maryland, approval of the legislation now makes Washington the third state this week [JURIST report] to legalize same-sex marriage, and the ninth state overall, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia [JURIST reports].

In June Preserve Marriage Washington [advocacy website] presented more than 200,000 referendum signatures to put Referendum 74 on the ballot, submitting the signatures and thus suspending the legislation one day before [JURIST reports] the law was scheduled to take effect. Gregoire signed the legislation less than a week after the state House of Representatives approved the bill, subsequent to the Senate having passed [JURIST reports] it two weeks before that. Gregoire has been a consistent advocate for gay rights during her tenure as governor. In April 2011 she signed a bill [JURIST report] that recognized as legal same-sex marriage licenses from other states. In March 2007 Gregoire signed legislation [JURIST report] that recognized domestic partnership status for same-sex couples.

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About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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