Washington governor Chris Gregoire has signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington. Hooray–the SSM juggernaut rolls on.
When Gregoire signed Washington’s “everything but marriage” domestic partnerships bill into law in 2009, I predicted it was the prelude to full-blown same-sex marriage in the state because it authorized all the legal rights of marriage in domestic partnerships, withholding only the name. It was a camel’s nose under the tent kind of ploy, and I said at the time it would allow Washingtonians to get accustomed to the idea, and eventually realize that there wasn’t any gain in withholding the word. (Although on the potential significance of the word itself, see Burt Likko’s comment on the 9th Circuit’s Prop 8 decision.)
Of course local bigots are planning to put a repealing initiative on the ballot. Hellfire and damnation, why can’t they just leave people alone?
Once upon a time opponents of SSM used to (correctly) claim that SSM had never been enacted democratically. Nowadays they’ve had to drop that argument, because Washington follows New Hampshire, D.C., New York, Vermont, and Maine (although Maine’s law was repealed by a vote of the public–on the other hand, the public’s likely to vote on it again this year, and if the new initiative passes, it will be the first time SSM has passed through citizen initiative).
Even conservatives at this point recognize that same-sex marriage is here to stay. All they can hope for now is a semi-successful rear-guard action to keep it from spreading to every state. I’m reminded of the British toast from the Napoleonic wars, “Confusion to our enemies!”