Washington State Legislators: We Have Enough Votes in the House to Pass Same-Sex Marriage Today

State Rep. Jim Moeller says he's "never been more optimistic" about getting a same-sex marriage law passed in Washington state.

The historic passage of a law legalizing same-sex marriage in New York over the weekend has brought the issue front-and-center for Americans nationwide, Moeller says. And as an openly gay man himself, he tells Seattle Weekly he "never thought we'd have this opportunity in my lifetime."

Moeller tells us that he's confident there are enough votes in the state House of Representatives to pass same-sex marriage today.

The state Senate, however, is another story.

And Moeller, like state Sen. Ed Murray (another openly gay Washington pol), says that getting the bill through the upper chamber will take a "lot of hard work."

"I think we have the votes in the house to get a bill passed," says Murray, before throwing a bit of cold water on when such a bill might be passed. "The New York bill, I think it builds momentum around the nation for the issue, but there's a lot of hard work to do. It's exciting, but it doesn't necessarily make it a done deal."

Moeller sounds decidedly more confident, saying he'd like lawmakers to "start now" in working on getting a marriage-equality bill ready to propose in the next legislative session. He also says that waiting until after the 2012 election to try and get a law passed could be disastrous. "My belief is we ought to move now. As things develop next year, we are going to have to keep in mind that things can change," says Moeller. "It will take a lot of work. It will take raising a lot of money. It will take boots on the ground, lobbyists in Olympia. It has to be coordinated effort from a lot of people."

Moeller says that he feels the state Legislature is still the best place to try and pass a same-sex marriage law (as opposed to using the initiative process to put the law on the 2012 ballot).

But he also says he wouldn't be surprised if the law made it on the ballot next year anyway.

Whatever the case, it would seem that if state lawmakers anywhere were waiting for a time to strike when the marriage-equality iron was at its hottest, that time would be now.

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