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Reuters: Washington state's governor signs gay marriage law

-By Nicole Neroulias

February 13, 2012- Governor Christine Gregoire signed legislation on Monday to make Washington state the seventh in the United States to legalize gay marriage, but opponents vowed to try to prevent the law from taking effect.

Gregoire, a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, signed the measure to raucous applause during a ceremony in the ornate reception room of the Olympia statehouse, declaring, "This is a very proud moment. ... I'm proud of who and what we are as a state." It was the latest victory for the U.S. gay rights movement.

Six other states already recognize gay marriage - New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa - as does the District of Columbia.

The measure, which won approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday, remains essentially on hold until at least early June, following a standard enactment period that runs until 90 days after Washington's legislative session ends.

Opponents of the statute have vowed to seek its repeal through a ballot measure in November that could delay enactment further or halt it entirely. The issue is also likely to figure in the state's Republican presidential politics.

Still, the bill-signing marked another key victory for gay rights advocates after a federal appeals court declared a voter-approved gay marriage ban in California unconstitutional last week, and the New Jersey state Senate approved a same-sex marriage bill earlier on Monday.

Several dozen protesters, including members of the group Knights of Columbus, stood silently in the Capitol Rotunda overlooking the reception hall holding signs with slogans espousing marriages of "one man, one woman."



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