Large crowds are expected Monday in Olympia as lawmakers begin considering whether to make Washington the seventh state in the nation where marriage equality is legal.
Passage of the legislation, which has the support of Gov. Chris Gregoire, is by no means certain. Though the house bill has enough votes, an identical senate measure is currently one vote shy of support, with five lawmakers still undecided (The Stranger profiles the remaining undecideds and lists all relevant office contact information as well).
Per its usual playbook, the National Organization for Marriage is threatening to support the ousting of any Republican senator who votes in favor of the bill. On Wednesday, NOM president Brian Brown said in a statement that the group would spend $250,000 to fund primary challenges against pro-equality GOP legislators.
“If the legislature forces through same-sex marriage, they need to know that marriage will be on the ballot in November and the people of Washington will hold them accountable,” Brown said.
A coalition of marriage equality supporters includes heavy-hitting corporations headquartered in the state such as Nike and Microsoft. “To be successful, it’s critical that we have a workforce that is as diverse as our customers,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith wrote Thursday. “Inclusiveness is therefore a fundamental part of our values.”
The Seattle Times reports that anti-gay marriage forces are planning a noontime rally Monday at the state capitol.
Both bills could see a floor vote in the state legislature by next month.
Information on the Monday hearings:
Senate Committee on Government Operations
January 23, 10:00 am
J.A. Cherberg Bldg, Senate hearing room #2
House Committee on Judiciary
January 23; testimony on marriage bill expected to begin at 2:30 pm
John L. O’Brien Bldg, room A
Currently scheduled events for marriage equality supporters can be found here via Washington United For Marriage.