Political Animal


February 13, 2012 4:01 PM ***One-and-a-Half Steps Forward for Marriage Equality

By Ed Kilgore

Washington became the seventh state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage today, as Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation enacted last week. It won’t take effect, however, until June, and opponents are trying to get an initiative on the November ballot to reverse it (and if so, could succeed in obtaining a judicial order delaying implementation of the law pending the vote).

Also today, the New Jersey Senate approved a marriage equality bill, already passed by the legislature’s lower house, that would make it the eighth state on board. But Gov. Chris Christie has promised a veto.

Deliberately or not, Christie’s stand against marriage equality will burnish his credentials for securing the second spot on the national GOP ticket this summer, assuming Marco Rubio doesn’t want it or is somehow passed over. And coincidentally or not, the current front-runner in GOP presidential polls, Rick Santorum, was in Olympia campaigning (Washington is holding its delegate election caucus on March 3) even as Gregoire penned the historic legislation, and announced plans to meet with same-sex marriage opponents while he was in town.

There’s one trend in the country, another altogether in the Republican Party.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on February 13, 2012 4:07 PM:

    Those of us who fondly remember William Howard Taft are supporting the Jersey Whale for VP.

  • thebewilderness on February 13, 2012 4:13 PM:

    It is my hope that the citizens of this gret stet will recognize the absurdity of putting the civil rights of one segment of the population up to a vote by the majority and refuse to sign.

  • Trollop on February 13, 2012 4:16 PM:

    Marriage equality does not compute with these people, they're largely in the 8th century.. It must be terrifying to simply shower, manipulate a light switch or use the coffee maker.. I pity them watching the world go by.

  • June on February 13, 2012 4:16 PM:

    It's truly troubling that in order to 'burnish' one's conservative cred, one has to take the bigoted/mean-spirited/greedy/incompetent/ignorant/insane/disturbing side on any issue. Not sure why it's taken me so many years, but I've come to think of the "conservative vote" as "the loon vote." That excepts conservatives who raise their voices against some of the insanity, but they are not the ones being pandered to.

  • K in VA on February 13, 2012 4:25 PM:

    I yearn for the day when homophobia ceases to be an effective GOTV tool for the GOP.

  • Skip on February 13, 2012 4:45 PM:

    No leading by example, this bunch.

    The right demands sacrifices to their religion...by other people. They themselves don't give up their wealth, they divorce, they deny the poor, the orphans...and break every commandment that stands between them and their bank accounts. But on gay marriage, they raise holy hell.

    And the crux is, do they really think no one can see through their shallow piety?

  • KadeKo on February 13, 2012 4:48 PM:

    But is Christie anti-Muslim enough?

    Remember his sincere remarks, his "KinselyGaffe" about being sick and tired of the crazee w.r.t. appointing the high-ranking, community-healing, everyone-recommended-him Imam to state office last year. Hard for Christie look at that footage and then pretend it's not in context.

  • Eeyore on February 13, 2012 4:58 PM:

    I'm incredibly moved by the events in Washington state. I grew up there, I never thought when I was struggling with coming out issues four decades ago that we'd see a day like today.

    Last year I married my long-term partner here in DC. We've always planned to move back to Seattle when we retire. Now (assuming the law holds up) we can go back home knowing our marriage is still valid.

  • berttheclock on February 13, 2012 5:04 PM:

    Opponents are trying to get two initiatives on the ballot. The first would over turn this new law. The second would ban same-sex marriage. The first requiring over 100,000 signatures has a June deadline, while, the other one needing more than 200,000 has a July deadline. The Catholic Church in Seattle has not, yet, made a decision whether they will join the fundamentalist churches in this move, but, they did send senior priests to testify against the bill.

  • Mitt's Magic Underwear on February 13, 2012 5:52 PM:

    Romney-Rubio. Bank on it.

  • Kathryn on February 13, 2012 6:14 PM:

    @Eeyore....really hope it works out, Washington state is so beautiful, lived in Seattle a long time ago. If the Catholic Church joins with the fundamentalist churches to fight same sex marriage, it will add to my utter sadness at the rightward direction of the church I grew up in before abortion and same sex marriage were issues (of course, women still bled to death after illegal abortions and gay Ameicans still had to hide who they were, but I was too young to know that). There is something so not right about any alliance between the Catholic Church and then likes of Tony Perkins, Mike Huckabee and the rest. It sickens me, but I still remember fondly the nuns from my 12 years of parochial school, even the stern ones, and the parish priests.

  • Cha on February 13, 2012 10:11 PM:


    Really happy for you and your partner and hope the new law holds up in Seattle.

    I'm sickened by the Catholic Church getting involved when they should be cleaning up their own house before butting into anyone else's affairs.

  • zandru on February 13, 2012 11:35 PM:

    As the reactionary right attempts to roll back the clock, making birth control illegal again, the rest of the nation moves ahead, embracing homosexual unions... Remind me again? Why do so many folks vote for these wingnutters? And will they do it again in November?!

  • MC on February 14, 2012 7:27 AM:

    Let's recall that Maine's legislature also passed a law allowing gay marriage, the governor signed it, and the petitions were signed to bring it to referendum, such that it is not the law in the state. Washington State, beware. This isn't over yet.

    At least in Maine, there's a new referendum... This time to make law, not overturn one.