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Two More Republicans Likely to Vote for Marriage Bill

By Josh Feit February 1, 2012

Update: Democratic Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-19) has announced that he will support the marriage-equality bill, leaving just one senator, Democrat Paull Shin (D-21) on the fence. In a statement citing multiple "signs from God" telling him to vote for the bill, Hatfield said, "This has been one of the most difficult votes I have ever been associated with." However, he added, "I also recognize that times have changed for the world, the country and the state."

Sources on the GOP side of the aisle tell PubliCola that two more Republican state senators, Joe Fain (R-47, Auburn) and Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) are likely to vote for the gay marriage bill. The floor debate and vote is scheduled for 6 pm tonight.

As opposed to a batch of unfriendly GOP amendments that will attempt to chip away at the gay civil rights bill that Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill) passed in 2006, Sens. Fain and Hill will vote for the marriage bill if a couple of friendly amendments are passed to clarify that clergy and religious institutions do not have to recognize gay marriage for things such as pre-marital counsel. (The bill already states that clergy and religious institutions don't have to perform gay weddings.)

Votes from Fain and Hill would bring the number of Republicans supporting the bill to four and bump the total vote up to 27 in favor of the proposal. The bill needs 25 votes to pass.

We have calls out to both Hill and Fain.

Republican Sens. Steve Litzow (R-41, Mercer Island) and Cheryl Pflug (R-5, Maple Valley) have already said publicly that they are voting for the bill. Two Democrats, Brian Hatfield (D-19), and Paull Shin (D-21) have said they are undecided on the bill.
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