February 11, 2012
Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire plans to sign newly passed legislation on Monday to legalize gay marriage in the state, making it the seventh U.S. state to redefine marriage. The bill passed the Washington state House Feb. 8 with a vote of 55-43 one week after it passed the Senate, 28-21. The measure is set to take effect in June, but churches and traditional groups are attempting to put it on hold by collecting 121,000 signatures by June 6. If they succeed, the initiative will appear on the November ballot, and voters could reverse the law with a majority vote. Conservatives will likely try to highlight two themes that have proven successful in other states: that legalizing gay marriage will lead to negative consequences on religious freedoms and what is taught in schools, and that children need mothers and fathers. "Despite what supporters of gay marriage argue, mothers and fathers are not 'interchangeable and replaceable,'" said Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington.