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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 9:16 a.m.

Senate panel schedules hearing on gay marriage

A tip of the hat to the blog of the Family Policy Institute of Washington for reporting first that a hearing is set for Jan. 23 on a Senate bill to make marriage legal for same-sex couples.

It is slated for 10 a.m. in the Senate Government Operations, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee. Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, the committee's chairman, confirmed this morning in an email.

Now, all that's needed is a bill. Legislation may get dropped in the hopper later today in the House and Senate. Late Wednesday, a couple state representatives said they had signed onto the House version.

In the meantime, odds are improving for Washington to become the seventh state to allow gay marriage.

Rachel La Corte and Mike Baker of the Associated Press polled the 49 members of the Senate to gauge chances of passage in that chamber and found there are 22 votes for it. Three more and it passes.

One of those three could be Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, who's been under siege from supporters and opponents. In response, she issued this statement today:

“I'm listening to all sides and keeping an open mind. I feel the best option is to send it to the voters on a referendum, but I'm still hearing from constituents and I want them to have full opportunity to make their views known.”

Haugen's press release also said the senator "will spend the coming weeks hearing from constituents and will have no further comment on the issue until she has reached a final decision."

By the way, if you want to know how the Snohomish County delegation is lining up on the issue, here's my poll of them:

1st District
Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D- Bothell: Uncommitted though leaning toward support
Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell: Yes
Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace: Yes

10th District
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island: No, unless sent to the ballot
Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor: No
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton: No

21st District
Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds: Undecided
Rep. Mary Helen Roberts, D-Lynnwood: Yes
Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds: Yes

32nd District
Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Edmonds: Yes
Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park: Yes
Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline: Yes

38th District
Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett: Yes
Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip: Yes
Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett: Yes

39th District
Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington: No
Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe: No
Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish: No

44th District

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: Yes
Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish: Yes
Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens: No
Story tags » PoliticsReligionReligion and PoliticsSocial IssuesGay marriageLGBT

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