Historic day for Washington state! Marriage bill signed into law!

Ty Stober, co-chair of Equal Rights Washington, and Marsha Botzer, Task Force board member, celebrating the historic bill signing.

Huge congratulations to Washingtonians! Gov. Christine Gregoire has just signed the marriage bill, making Washington the seventh state to allow marriage for same-sex couples. In her comments right before signing the measure, the governor said that today “is a proud day that historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights.”

Task Force board member Marsha Botzer, a Washingtonian and coordinating committee member of Washington United for Marriage, was among those who attended the statehouse signing ceremony in Olympia. The law is slated to take effect in June.

The bill cleared the full Legislature last week. When it did, Marsha said:

Today, I am even more proud to call Washington my home. This day comes after years of tireless work, of building capacity on the ground, of personal conversations about our lives, our families, and why marriage matters to us. The absolute, determined and unrelenting commitment to full equality and fairness by so many, including all of us at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, is helping to create positive change for LGBT people within Washington state and beyond its borders.

Gov. Gregoire speaking before signing the marriage equality bill into law.

Over the years, the Task Force has worked with equality advocates in Washington state to secure protections for LGBT people and their families. This includes supporting the successful 2002 campaign when the Task Force Action Fund partnered with Tacoma United for Fairness to preserve the city’s existing nondiscrimination ordinance; the victorious 2006 effort to secure statewide nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people; and the 2009 passage of Referendum 71 to extend domestic partner rights.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said:

This is a tremendous victory for Washingtonians. It affirms what millions of people across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to join in the celebration and responsibilities of marriage, just as many of their friends, family, neighbors and colleagues already do. People from every background and every circumstance get this; they understand because being able to marry the person you love and care for your family are shared values.

This has been a long journey of changing hearts and minds. The many years of door-knocking, phone calls and poignant conversations about why marriage matters have broken down walls, placed a spotlight on our common humanity and brought us to this historic moment.

Washington joins six other states in allowing marriage for same-sex couples — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York — and the District of Columbia.

There will be celebrations throughout Washington state tonight. For a list of locations, please go here.