(OLYMPIA, Wash.) — Last February, Washington became the seventh state in the nation to permit gay and lesbian weddings after Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the measure into law.
At the time, Gregoire declared it was “a day that historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights.”
However, same-sex marriages in Washington State have been cast into doubt after opponents managed to accrue 240,000 signatures to put the matter up for a vote in November.
Those opposed to homosexual unions had a deadline of June 6 to come up with the required 120,000 signatures, which they more than doubled. Had they failed to produce enough signatures, gay and lesbians would have been allowed to get married starting Wednesday.
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.
Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Like Washington State, Maryland is also poised to have a public vote this fall after the Legislature passed a law this year supporting same-sex marriage.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN