(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — Washington state is on the verge of becoming the seventh state in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriages after House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to legalize these unions.
However, the joy felt by supporters of homosexual nuptials may be short-lived because its opponents have vowed to let Washington residents determine the future of the law by putting it up for a vote in November. In that case, gay and lesbian couples won’t be able to wed until the referendum is decided in 10 months.
If same-sex marriage foes are unable to get the required number of signatures for a November referendum, the law will go into effect 90 days after Gov. Chris Gregorie signs it next week.
Washington, which passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, has been more open toward gay rights since then, instituting a Domestic Partnership law five years ago. Polls have also shown that a majority of residents would not vote to overturn a same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature.
Besides the District of Columbia, only New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Iowa permit gays and lesbians to legally wed.
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