MARCH 3, 1997
Senate fails to override Locke's veto of gay marriage ban
OLYMPIA--While earlier Senate approval of the gay marriage ban showed seven Democrats siding with Republicans, when it came time to override Gov. Gary Locke's veto, the vote was strictly partisan, failing 26-20.
Senate Bill 5398, known as the Marriage Protection Act, defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and would prohibit same-sex marriages performed in other states from being recognized in Washington state. The issue is currently on appeal in Hawaii, where courts have upheld same-sex marriages. Marriages performed in one state are recognized in all states as provided in the U.S. Constitution.
Case law in Washington state upholds the tradition of marriage between a man and a woman, dating back to a 1974 case. Those supporting a ban on same-sex marriages argue that if Hawaii's case stands and that states recognize same-sex marriages, Washington will be required to recognize them as well, unless there is a clearly stated exception.
In his veto of the measure two weeks ago, Locke argued that the case law would stand and to not recognize same-sex marriages recognized by another state would violate the U.S. Constitution. The Legislature will consider a measure on this issue to send directly to voters.