- Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level since 2012. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)
- The Puyallup Tribe of Indians legalized marriage equality 9 July 2014.
- Marriage equality recognized by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation since 5 September 2013.
- The Suquamish Tribe legalized marriage equality on 1 August 2011.
- Washington is home of the 1974 legal case Singer v. Hara, in which the court ruled against the plaintiffs, a gay male couple, John Singer and Paul Barwick. The plaintiffs had argued that Washington marriage statutes did not prohibit same-gender marriages and therefore a license should be issued to them.
Legislation - Enacted
SB 6239 /HB 2516 The Same-sex Marriage Bill
Author/Sponsor: For SB 6239 - Senators Murray, Pflug, Hobbs, Litzow, Kohl-Welles, Ranker, Tom, Harper, Pridemore, Keiser, Kline, Regala, Eide, Rolfes, McAuliffe, Brown, Nelson, Chase, Fraser, Frockt, Conway, Kilmer, and Prentice. For HB 2516 -Representatives Pedersen, Walsh, Moeller, Jinkins, Tharinger, Upthegrove, Van De Wege, Seaquist, McCoy, Billig, Morris, Carlyle, Darneille, Ladenburg, Maxwell, Moscoso, Stanford, Fitzgibbon, Pollet, Hudgins, Finn, Eddy, Springer, Ormsby, Wylie, Goodman, Appleton, Pettigrew, Takko, Roberts, Ryu, Cody, Hasegawa, Hunter, Hunt, Haigh, Lytton, Santos, Orwall, Hansen, Sullivan, Kenney, Reykdal, Dickerson, Kagi, Sells, Clibborn, Dunshee, Liias, and Chopp.
Date Introduced: SB 6239 - 16 January 2012; HB 2516 - 17 January 2012
Date Enacted: 6 December 2012
- The bill legalized same-sex marriage and provided that all domestic partnerships not involving at least one member aged 62 years or older and not dissolved within two years of the date the law went into effect automatically became marriages.
- 13 February 2012, Governor Gregoire signed the bill into law.
- The law was to take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session but opponents blocked its implementation by collecting the signatures necessary to put the measure to a popular vote on 6 November 2012, as Referendum 74 (See Ballot Initiatives - Resolved below.)
- Via that referendum, voters approved the law by a 54%-46% margin.
- The law took effect on 6 December 2012. Because Washington requires a three-day waiting period (excluding the day of issue) for the celebration of a marriage, the first same-sex marriages in the state took place on 9 December 2012.
Lawsuits - Pending
Florist Barronelle Stutzman v. Ferguson/WA State
Case #: 13-2-88971-5
Court Level: Benton County Superior Court
Date Filed: 16 May 2013
Date of Appeal:
- Barronelle Stutzman countersued the Attorney General and state following the suit brought against her by the Washington Attorney general (seeWA State v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman above).
- The countersuit, filed by an anti-gay group called Alliance Defending Freedom, argues that Ferguson’s suit is attempting to force Barronelle Stutzman to act contrary to her religious convictions in violation of her freedoms under the state constitution.
Lawsuits - Resolved
Freed & Robert Ingersoll v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman and WA State v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman
Case #: 13-2-00871-5 (Consolidated with 13-2-00953-3)
Court Level: Benton County Superior Court
Date Filed: Freed & Robert Ingersoll v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman 18 April 2013; WA State v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman April 2013
Date Resolved: 27 March 2015
- 18 April 2013, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a gay couple in Kennewick, Curt Freed and Robert Ingersoll, against a florist that refused to sell them flowers because of their sexual orientation. The suit says that the refusal of Arlene’s Flowers to sell flowers to the couple violates the Washington Law Against Discrimination.
- Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit the same week against Arlene’s Flowers.
- 28 June 2013, Benton County Superior Court Judge Salvador Mendoza: (1) refused to recuse himself from the cases; and (2) consolidated the two lawsuits.
- 25 October 2013, in WA State v. Florist Barronelle Stutzman the defendant filed a motion arguing that the lawsuit brought by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and standing, and for failing to try to resolve it through the Washington Human Rights Commission.
- 25 October 2013, the defendant also filed a separate motion asking that the claims against her in her personal capacity in the state case and the one brought by the couple be dismissed.
- A hearing was scheduled for February 2014 but was pushed back until October 2014.
- 27 March 2015, Judge Fines Washington Florist Over Same-Sex Wedding Flowers - By Derrick Nunnally, Associated Press
Michael Hall, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company
Case #: 2:2013cv02160
Date Filed: 3 December 2013
Ruling Date: 4 December 2013
- Two legally married same-sex couples (Carol Garrand and Amie Garrand, Elijah Uber and Michael Hall) filed a federal suit to obtain spouse health insurance coverage for themselves and all other workers because although same-gender civil marriage is legal in WA, employer BNSF refuses to comply.
- 4 December 2013, America’s largest freight rail carriers (BNSF, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, CSX, and others) announced they will provide health care benefits to same-sex spouses of their workers, starting 1 January 2014.
- 28 November 2014, the parties filed a Joint Status Report.
- 4 December 2014, an Order was issued setting Trial and Related Dates. The trial is scheduled for 16 November 2015.
- 23 February 2015, a Joint Stipulation of Dismissal was filed.
- 25 February 2015, the Dismissal was ordered.
Ballot Initiatives - Passed
Washington Referendum 74
Purpose of Ballot Measure: A Washington state referendum to approve or reject the February 2012 bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
Date Passed: 6 November 2012, the law was upheld by voters by a final margin of 7.4% (53.7% approve, 46.3 reject) and the result was certified on 5 December 2012.
- A November 2012 survey by Public Policy Polling found that 54% of Washington voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 40% thought it should be illegal and 5% were not sure. Poll Details
- A June 2012 survey by Public Policy Polling found that 51% of Washington voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 42% thought it should be illegal and 7% were not sure. Poll Details