Gay marriage now legal in Washington

On Monday, the governor signed Senate Bill 6239 which legalizes same-sex marriages in Washington. Hopefully the matter will now remain behind us and we can focus on the more important issues facing our state, such as reconciling a $1.4 billion budget gap before the 60-day legislative session comes to an end.

As you know, I was disappointed that a majority of the Senate voted to abandon the traditional definition of marriage and concern about religious freedoms that are being threatened by this change to state law. I believe this issue should be decided by the people of our state, and I heard from many constituents who also believe the majority should have allowed Washingtonians to have their say on such an important issue. Unfortunately, an amendment to add a referendum clause to the bill was defeated in both the Senate and the House.

I have been greatly dismayed by the lack of progress the Legislature has made so far this session toward dealing with the budget and other real problems we were sent here to address. I hope now that the matter is concluded, the Legislature can focus on issues that affect everyone…not just a miniscule minority of state residents.

Early indications are that progress on the budget is being made. I’ve been told that budget writers on both sides of the aisle are asking for all budget provisos to be submitted by today, which tells me there is at least a half-hearted attempt to address the budget gap. I am cautiously optimistic that we may conclude the people’s business here before our March 8th deadline.