Washington is one step closer to becoming the seventh state to authorize marriage equality. The Senate voted 28-21 in favor of allowing same-sex unions on Wednesday evening.
SB 6239 sponsored by Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) was approved after 90 minutes of debate on Wednesday. Amendments that strengthened the religious exemption clauses were added to the bill with bi-partisan support.
Washington currently allows for same-sex couples to register as domestic partners, which provides the same legal benefits as marriage. However, marriage equality proponents argue domestic partnerships are essentially “separate, but equal” relationships, which historically have proven to be less than equal. For example, during a public hearing on the issue, same-sex couples described difficult and frustrating conversations with hospital staff concerning visitation rights.