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Marriage equality bill passes last hurdle before full Washington House vote

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Marriage equality Prop 8 trial

By Jacob Combs

On the heels of today’s news that the 9th Circuit will rule on the constitutionality of Prop 8 tomorrow, we have some more great news out of Washington state. From the AP:

A House committee approved a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, setting the stage for final passage this week.

The House Judiciary committee advanced the measure on a 7-5 vote Monday after a public hearing. The bill could be up for a vote on the House floor as early as Wednesday. The full Senate passed the measure on a 28-21 vote last Wednesday. Once passed by the House, the bill goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her signature.

Looks like this is going to be a very big week for marriage equality. Check back here at P8TT for full coverage of tomorrow’s 9th Circuit decision and later in the week for the House vote!


  • 1. Gregory in SLC  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Go Washington!!!!!

  • 2. chris from CO  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Moving forward in the right direction.

  • 3. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I am going to have to work late tonight and try to get as much of my weeks work done!

    This will certainly make Valentine's Day this year memorable.

  • 4. Sagesse  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Note to NOM: that light at the end of the tunnel…. It's a train :).

  • 5. DaveP  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    This. Is. Awesome.

  • 6. Brett  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Interesting question for one of the legal minds:

    Supposing that tomorrow, the 9th Circuit issues a board ruling uploading the Prop 8 ruling and ordering marriage equality on all of the states within the 9th Circuit. When this law passes, it's essentially constitutionally required to comply with the order. Would the repeal ballot in WA then become impermissible in light of the judgement? Or would it still be able to go forward but may have no meaning?

  • 7. Brett  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    My apologies, I meant to say "broad ruling"

  • 8. Lesbians Love Boies  |  February 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I don't expect a broad ruling. I think that was one of the questions that was asked to Olsen by the judges during oral arguments – were they expecting a broad or narrow ruling.

    I also think that by taking questions to the California Supreme court before they would continue was a cue that they were taking the narrow ruling to be for California only.

  • 9. chris hogan  |  February 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I don't get this crap about a "narrow ruling for CA only". The 9th has several states under its jurisdiction. Wouldn't any ruling by the 9th set precedent that the rest of the states under its jurisdiction would have to follow?

  • 10. DaveP  |  February 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Think of it this way – IF they rule that Prop 8 was unconstitutional specifically BECAUSE it took away a previously existing right of same sex marriage (and not because denying equal marriage rights is always unconstitutional), then technically, yes it would apply to all of the states in the 9th circuit, but since that particular situation only occurred in California it would not directly affect the other states.

    Although there would certainly still be tons of good stuff in the ruling (and the previous Walker ruling etc.) that would be valuable for new challenges in those other states.

    But that's some pretty flimsy distinction between the two 'reasons'. It would be hard to justify the one without justifying the other, IMO.

  • 11. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    There's even more coming up! From the Garden State Equality Facebook page:

    BREAKING: BOTH THE FULL NEW JERSEY SENATE AND FULL ASSEMBLY WILL VOTE ON THE MARRIAGE EQUALITY BILL NEXT WEEK. The Senate will vote on Monday, February 13. The Assembly will vote on Thursday, February 16. Times each day to be announced. Join us in Trenton on both days. After the Assembly vote on Thursday, February 16, we will hold a huge gathering at the Trenton Marriott. If ever you thought about taking off from work, this is it!

  • 12. DaveP  |  February 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Whoa! What a week!!!!!

  • 13. Glen  |  February 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    How very appropriate for all this to be happening in the month of Valentine's Day.


  • 14. Carpool Cookie  |  February 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    But language from the ruling can be cited in future lawsuits before the 9th Circuit, especially….for instance, if there's a sentence in there that says something like,"…and given, at any rate, that there is no rational reason to exclude same sex couples from marriage…." that's an opinion within an opinion that can become persuassive argument on a federal level. So even if the decision is narrowly tailored to address the California situation, there could well be bits and pieces in there that are good to have on record, for other states. (Not withcounting that Judge Walker's Findings of Fact would take on greater applicability, having been upheld on appeal.

  • 15. peterplumber  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I still own a house in Washington, even tho I am not technically a resident. If Prop 8 stands, maybe I can still go (back) to Washington to get married!!

  • 16. peterplumber  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    The NOMbies are in a tizzie over there. I think they are running scared.

  • 17. Gregory in SLC  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Maybe you will get a choice CA or Washington!

  • 18. Gregory in SLC  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    NJ schedules vote:

  • 19. Straight Dave  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I'm hoping this anticipated triple play in CA, WA, and NJ persuades Chris Christie that any thoughts he had of a veto might be increasingly misplaced, politically speaking. Not to mention NC, ME, MN and all the rest who are in the queue.

  • 20. John_B_in_DC  |  February 6, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Good. Get these state legislators on record, in New Jersey, in Maryland, and in every other state even if (especially if!) there is no chance of getting marriage equality legislation passed. I was very disappointed that this never even came up for a vote in Maryland. It's time for our friends and allies (however reluctant) to identify themselves, and time for the opponents of our rights to also identify themselves and be held accountable. They need to answer not only to their own constituents but to their entire state, and they need to explain why they are standing in the way of same-sex couples getting married. And we should demand a better explanation than "it goes against my religious beliefs."

  • 21. Gregory in SLC  |  February 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    This where we stand in Utah:

    Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, was one of the anti-gay rights activists who spoke against the bill. She said exemptions from the bill need to extend to all religious people, not just religious organizations. And although the law currently exempts landowners with four or fewer units, she questioned the bill’s impact on landowners who have multiple units.

    “What if I was renting to singles and wanted a certain standard. I couldn’t say, ‘You’re living a homosexual lifestyle. You can’t live here,’” Ruzicka said. “I think I should have the right to do so.”

  • 22. kate  |  February 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    And so then we get to refuse to rent to straight people?

  • 23. Straight Dave  |  February 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    No, just the bigoted ones. We'll only too glad to let the "good" kind in.
    [too snarky?]

  • 24. DaveP  |  February 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    “I think I should have the right to do so.”… She clearly doesn't even know what rights are.

    How about this: I think she should have the 'right' to have monkeys fly out of her butt.

  • 25. grod  |  February 7, 2012 at 5:46 am

    John – While I sure you did not intend to enter a debate as to where a legislator is elect to represent the views of citizens in their constituency or their own views, let’s assume or arguement sake, the latter. Then, no further explanation is necessary than stating: 'It goes against my religious beliefs'. The LGBT community shows and gives respect and expects the same of legislators by acknowledging their 1st amendments rights, while asking them to respect LGBT 14th amendment rights. Both rights can be respected by the other when all Americans can participate in what the Supreme Court describes as fundamental personal rights in the pursuit of happiness – civil marriage

  • 26. Chris S  |  February 7, 2012 at 7:11 am

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." That is the first line of the First Amendment.

    What about our First Amendment rights, grod?

    Because I'm pretty sure making laws according to your personal religious notions is making a law "respecting an establishment of religion".

  • 27. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  February 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

    You can hold your wedding and or your reception in our beautiful garden/backyard Peter. We would LOVE to have you and your husband here.

  • 28. anniedelasol  |  February 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    My question is to all you legal eagels: It now seems that the 3 member panel of the appeals court upheld the ruling that struck down prop 8 on narrow grounds applicable to CA only. I thought that the California State Supreme Court was the final word on what our State Consitition protects, and that the Supreme Court cannot really overturn a ruling that was exculsively about what a State Court says about it's own consitituion.
    Since the Court granted status and disallowed the video tape to be released. The only other issue that could be appealed is regarding the prejudice of the judge because he was gay. First of all is that right? Do you think by crafting the verdict so narrowly they limited the Supreme Court in being able to have grounds to overturn it?

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