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Washington is a single vote away of becoming the seventh state in the nation to recognize same-sex marriages. Yesterday, Sen. Jim Kastama threw his support

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Sen. Jim Kastama Backs Gay Marriage; Legislature One Vote Shy

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Washington is a single vote away of becoming the seventh state in the nation to recognize same-sex marriages. Yesterday, Sen. Jim Kastama threw his support behind the controversial measure, and with that, the Puyallup Democrat is the 24th state senator to announce he's in favor of the legal recognition of gay marriage. Supporters need 25 votes.

The scorecard at this point shows two Republicans and 22 Democrats lined up in favor of gay marriage rights. Kastama's support is key, for in 1998 he voted for a law that defined marriage as a union between a man and woman.

"I think we have evolved," said Kastama. "I'm like many people who have searched for answers on this issue...To strengthen marriages as a valued institution, it must evolve to meet the needs of today's couples."

Gov. Chris Gregoire has also had a change of heart, introducing the legislation two weeks and urging the Legislature to move on it soon. The measure is expected to be heard on Monday.

The 25th vote could very come from two undecided Democrats -- Sens. Karen Fraser of Olympia and Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell. Both have indicated earlier this month that they'll vote in the affirmative but were not willing to commit.

The House is expected to have far more suppor than needed to pass the legislation.

On the gubernatorial front, Attorney General Rob McKenna says the matter should be decided by the voters, not the Legislature. Democrat Jay Inslee supports Gregoire on the issue.

Yesterday as well, several large businesses also endorsed the bill, including Microsoft, RealNetworks, Group Health, Vulcan and Nike.

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