OLYMPIA -- Washington must end discrimination against same-sex couples, an emotional Gov. Chris Gregoire said this morning. She urged the Legislature to pass a bill that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state without requiring churches to perform the service if they object.
Gregoire received extended applause from some 70 people crowded into the governor's conference room as she called same-sex marriage rights a defining civil rights issue of the current generation. Younger citizens are ahead of her generation, she said, and the public is ahead of the Legislature on it, she insisted.
Legislators who attended the press conference said they believed they have the votes to pass a bill Gregoire will endorse in the House, but are "a few votes" short of a majority in the Senate.
But it is time for legislators to step up and take a tough vote on same-sex marriage, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said. He predicted he would get Republican votes for that measure, something he doubted he would get for a tax increase.
"Suddenly, gay marriage becomes easier than passing taxes," Murray said.