Sen. Ed Murray, left, and his partner Michael Shiosaki discuss the same-sex marriage bill.
OLYMPIA -- The state Senate will be debating the same-sex marriage bill in front of a full gallery and possibly late into the evening.
But it has the 25 votes needed to pass SB 6239, its prime sponsor, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said.
The galleries have been filling since late afternoon, and at least a half dozen amendments will be considered before the final vote. One of those amendments will be to put the measure to a vote, but Murray said he was confident that amendment will fail.
The bill could pass the House and be on Gov. Gregoire's desk by the middle of next week, he said.
Despite the fact that supporters can defeat any attempt at a referendum clause, Murray said he had "no doubt" opponents will gather the signatures to suspend the law until it goes to the voters in November.
Appearing before the debate at a press conference with his partner Michael Shiosaki, Murray said Wednesday is "a historic day for gay and lesbian couples in Washington state."
When they met some 21 years ago, Shiosaki said they "never would've imagined this day would be here.
Although Washington has a domestic partnership law that gives same-sex couples many of the legal rights as a married couple, marriage is special, he added.
"This is the way society says you're a family," Murray said.