UPDATE: The Washington State Senate has passed the gay-marriage law by a 28-21 margin. The bill will now go to the House where passage is expected to come as soon as next week -- upon which Gov. Chris Gregoire will sign the measure into law.
Original post follows:
It is just about all over. After months of debate, soul-searching and a reluctant governor who finally lent her support for the measure, gay marriage will soon become law. Sometime today, most likely in the late afternoon, the state Senate will vote in the affirmative and send the bill along to the House, which has more than enough votes to make Washington the seventh state to say yes to same-sex marriage.
The bill has the 25 votes in the Senate -- the minimum needed for approval -- so it really doesn't matter what the five undecided lawmakers (two Democrats and three Republicans) in the upper chamber do.
It is possible Gov. Chris Gregoire will sign the bill into law before the week is out.
On Tuesday, the Senate Rules Committee voted 14-7 to send the measure to the Senate for a full vote. The 7 nays were all Republicans. The the only Republican on the committee in favor was Cheryl Pflug of Maple Valley.
The bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Ed Murray of Seattle, remains as cautious as a diamond cutter. "Nothing is done until it is actually voted on," he said, stating the obvious.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have already promised a referendum battle at the ballot if the measure becomes law.
Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Lawmakers in New Jersey and Maryland are expected to debate gay marriage this year, and Maine is likely to see a gay marriage proposal on the November ballot.