This Washington

Another Republican for Marriage Equality; Bill Now One Vote Shy in Senate

By Erica C. Barnett January 19, 2012

UPDATE: State Sen. Jim Kastama (D-25), who was one of the undecided Democrats in the state senate, now says he will support Sen. Ed Murray's (D-43) marriage equality bill.

While two Republicans in the state senate are still on the fence about Sen. Ed Murray's (D-43) marriage equality bill, one Republican in the state House, Glenn Anderson (R-5)---an iconoclastic R who defied his party's position on medical marijuana (while proposing a joke amendment requiring the state to pay medical pot users' pizza bills)---has said he will sign off on the marriage bill, which is sponsored in the House by Jamie Pedersen (D-43).

In a statement on the House Republicans' web site, Anderson said he believed same-sex marriage is good for the "social order" and does not threaten traditional religious marriage because the proposal would allow religious institutions to refuse to perform marriages for same-sex couples, while legalizing civil marriage for everyone.

Additionally, Anderson said,
there is sufficient physiological research and consistent historical record to suggest that homosexuality is a normal, if much less frequent, genetic expression of human biology. If race is a genetically acceptable criterion for constitutional equal protection under the law in the 14th Amendment, then genetic sexual orientation is closely related as a fundamental expression of human biology.

This is certainly a big change in our cultural expectations and it will take time to fully sort it all out. It took almost one hundred years from the ratification the 14th Amendment after the American Civil War until the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s. Hopefully, we have learned much from that experience and it won’t take so long on this issue.

Although the Democrats have a larger majority in the House (56-42, compared to 27-22 in the senate), Anderson's support for same-sex marriage could spur Republicans in the senate to join him. GOP Sens. Andy Hill (R-45) and Joe Fain (R-47) have said they have not yet decided whether they'll support Murray's bill. If they do, they will join two other Republicans---Cheryl Pflug (R-5) and Steve Litzow (R-41) in breaking party ranks to back the bill.
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