February 2, 2012 at 5:50 am EDT | by Staff reports
Washington Senate approves marriage bill

The Washington State Senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage by a 28-21 vote Wednesday night after nearly an hour and a half of debate, setting the stage for likely passage as the House is considered more favorable and the governor has announced she will sign it.

The House is expected to vote next week.

“Those of us who support this legislation are not, and we should not be accused of, undermining family life or religious freedom,” Sen. Ed Murray, a gay Democratic lawmaker from Seattle told the AP. “Marriage is how society says you are a family.”

Several amendments were added to boost protections for religious entities, as was done in New York prior to that state’s legislature passing a similar bill last year.

Opponents have vowed to take the issue to voters in a referendum and would need to gather more than 120,000 signatures to do so.

The Blade will have more details later in the day and as developments warrant.

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