Transjurisdictional comparisons of same-sex unions
8 min

Washington Senate passes marriage equality

BY ROB SALERNO – It looks like Washington may win the race to be the next US jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is legal! Last night, Feb 1, state senators voted 28-21 to pass marriage equality. The state house could follow as early as next week, and Governor Chris Gregoire has already said she supports the law. Washington will bring the total number of US states that allow gay marriage to seven, including New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Washington, DC, also allows gay marriage, as do two West Coast native tribes. California famously permitted same-sex marriage for six months before Proposition 8 ended the practice.

Watch gay state senator Ed Murray defend gay marriage and call for cooperation on this issue with marriage equality opponents. Murray is planning to marry his partner of more than 20 years upon passage of the bill and told his colleagues, “regardless
of how you vote on this bill, an invitation will be in the mail."

Other states debating same-sex marriage this year include Maryland and New Jersey, where Democrat-controlled state houses hope to see passage; New Hampshire, where the Republican state house wants to repeal it; and North Carolina and Minnesota, where Republicans are hoping to pass constitutional amendments to ban the practice.  

It’s worth checking in on the status of same-sex marriage worldwide. Ten countries currently allow same-sex marriages nationwide: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Brazil allows same-sex marriages in theory, through roundabout rulings of its state and federal Supreme Courts, but they’ve only been performed in some states. Mexico recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City only.

That’s right, soon Seattle will be as progressive as Johannesburg, Sao Paolo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires . . . You’d think a city known for its plaid flannel would’ve been more lesbian-friendly.

Israel recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere only. There are ongoing debates about allowing same-sex marriage in the UK, Australia, Finland and Uruguay, and Denmark is planning to pass same-sex marriage by June. France’s Socialist party will be campaigning on the issue in national elections this year.