(UPDATE 10:53a) At a much anticipated ceremony in the state reception room at 11:30am Pacific time, Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire will sign a bill that she introduced and for which she advocated giving LGBT Washingtonians the freedom to marry. The ceremony is expected to be webcast on King5 or try here at TVW.org. Station KIRO TV is expected to webcast live, too.
The law will go into effect on June 7 – however, opponents to same sex marriage have already promised a referendum to overturn the law and if they get more than 120,000 signatures by June 6, the law will be stayed until the November election. Opponents are just going with a referendum – they’ve filed for an antigay marriage initiative, too. To qualify that measure, they must collect 241,153 valid signatures by July 6. A coalition called Washington United for Marriage is gearing up for the battle. But first they’re celebrating Washington State joining New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. in having the legal right to marry.
MEANWHILE – the New Jersey Senate is taking up debate on marriage rights – bill #5.1, the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act – at noon Eastern, 9:00am Pacific. According to Steven Goldstein, Chair of Garden State Equality, it takes 21 votes to pass the bill in the 40-member Senate, which has 24 Democrats and 16 Republicans. You can watch or here the debate here. UPDATE: The Senate passed the bill by 24-16. The Washington Blade has more. The Assembly takes up the bill on Thursday.
Here’s a backgrounder on today’s bill signing in Washington from King5: