As expected, the state Senate Rules Committee agreed today to send a bill legalizing same-sex marriage to the floor for a vote as early as Wednesday.
Thirteen Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley — voted to send it to the floor for debate and action. Seven Republicans voted against the bill leaving the committee.
Debate may not occur until the evening. When it does, several attempts will be made to amend the bill though it is expected to pass. Thus far, 25 senators have publicly expressed support of the bill.
What wasn’t expected today was the committee member that made the request: Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who as the president of the Senate won’t be voting on it unless it is to break a tie.
“I do not feel threatened nor do I feel my family or any American is threatened by the passage of this law,” said Owen, who read from a prepared statement. “For me this is not a religious question, this is a legal question. Members of a church may not support this type of marriage and have every right to reflect that as they see fit. However, from a legal standpoint we must protect the rights of all people to be treated equally under the law. This bill recognizes that obligation.”
State Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, said she was caught off guard by Owens’ action. She anticipated one of the Democratic senators would be the one asking the committee to put it before the full Senate.
“I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked,” she said of hearing him pull the bill. “I thought he was reasonable and logical.”
Regarding the upcoming debate, she said other members will be putting forth amendments but she’s not.
“You can’t put lipstick on a pig. This whole thing needs to go away,” she said, adding opponents need to get to work on undoing it via a referendum.