Backed by an impressive 23 co-sponsors and a “By Request: Gov. Gregoire” note, the much-anticipated marriage equality bill has been introduced into the Washington state Senate (SB 6239, PDF).
The bill needs 25 votes to pass, so two additional senators will need to sign on. According to The Stranger‘s tally, six senators remain undecided: Sen. Joe Fain (R-47), Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-19), Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10), Sen. Andy Hill (R-45), Sen. Jim Kastama (D-25), Sen. Paull Shin (D-21).
If you live in one of these districts or know someone who does, contact your legislator and let them know you want their support on this bill and why. Here is a handy e-mail widget to get you started. You can also find each senator’s phone number in the links above.
Washington United for Marriage, the statewide coalition dedicated to passage of the bill, applauded its introduction:
“Today we take the next step towards making the promise of equality a reality in Washington State,” said Zach Silk, Campaign Manager for Washington United for Marriage. “The introduction of this bill not only recognizes the value that lesbian and gay families in Washington make to our united community, but also upholds the longstanding tradition of the separation of church and state in this country. Marriage is about dignity, commitment, love and respect – it is the ultimate expression of a pro-family society. The foundation of marriage helps us build stable families, and now is the time to recognize the importance of treating all families in Washington State equally.”
Six states plus the District of Columbia recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Nine states—California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.