I was presently surprised to see an braking news email from he Seattle Times pop up in my inbox on my cellphone with the need that at a 11am news conference on Wednesday that governor Chris Gregoire is expected to announce support for gay marriage, which will be the first time she has formerly supported it, although she has been a steadfast supporter of gay rights, in the state.
This comes in light of the grass roots efforts of Equality Washington to pressure the State legislation to pass a gay marriage law in 2012, this news conference takes place just before the start of the next legislative session starting on Monday. I don't know how much motion can be expected to be made on this issue during that session, which runs threw march 8th, in part because the legislature has to plug another 1.5 billion shortfall in the state budget which I for see being a nasty battle as there really is no "fat" left to trim let alone muscle, but that is beside the point.
The goal is that given current polling trends in Washington, the hope is that if it gets passed soon, the goal is before the elections, as it's just about certain that one of two things will happen.
One the state legislature will draft the law battle it out and then Olympia will chicken out when it comes to the final vote and kick it to the state voters as a referendum to decide to pass it or not. (Like they did a few years ago with a gas tax increase)
The second (more likely) the legislature will pass the law and then the governor will sign it. At which point a anti gay marriage group will start up a petition to have the law placed as a referendum on the ballot for the voters to vote the law into the books or not.
What Equality Washington is banking on is the fact that last year random polling found that 2/3 of the state supports equal marital rights under the law with it bravely split in favor of marriage, and the hope is that with a little outreach those supportive but on the fence when it comes to the word marriage itself they can be nudged to marriage supporters. Not to mention there being a very recent record of gay rights support at the ballot box (more accurately mailbox) in the form of R71 in 2008 where voters voted to approve the states "every thing but the word marriage" expansion of domestic partnerships
In Washington gaining marriage equality is essayer then it is in other stated because Washington's DOMAIN law is just that a law not a constitutional ban like many other states, so all that it takes to change the law is the same simple process and simple majority vote that it takes pass a new tragic law.
Of course the ultimate hope is that it will get out on the ballot for the 2012 presidential elections, in no small part because like back in 08 the strong liberal base in Washington will be motivated and mobilize when their ballots finally arrive in the mail, and thus a strong pro gay voter base will be taking part in the election. The hoped outcome is that the voters will approve marriage equality, which would ultimately make it almost impossible to over turn, as "the people" would have spoken.