OLYMPIA, Wash. – An influential Washington state senator says 2012 could be the year he and others try to pass a gay marriage bill in the legislature. Senator Ed Murray is an openly gay Seattle Democrat.
Murray says New York state's recent approval of gay marriage is creating some momentum here. Murray says he and State Representative Jamie Pedersen, an openly gay House Democrat, are talking with leaders in the gay and lesbian community about whether to run what he terms a "marriage equality" bill next January.
Murray believes the votes are there in the Washington House to approve gay marriage, but in the Senate Democrats have a tenuous majority.
"We're probably several votes short in the Senate," he says.
Murray says the strategy is for gay and lesbian families and their straight friends to directly lobby legislators -– on both sides of the aisle — who might be persuadable.
"There isn't horse-trading that goes on on an issue like this that involves people's families."
Murray adds that a key consideration for backers is whether gay marriage -– if it passed the legislature -– could withstand a likely ballot challenge from opponents.
The issue could have major implications for the 2012 governor's race in Washington.
On the Web:
Text of New York's Marriage Equality Act:
Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network