Update: While I was judging round after round of Lincoln-Douglas debate at PLU's TOH Karl tournament, it passed, and will go on for Chris Gregoire's signature. Eli Sanders has more questions:
If the supreme court rules in favor of same-sex unions, and lawmakers in Olympia are asked by the court to create a legal framework for state recognition of gay relationships, will the same legislators who took so long to green-light the civil rights bill be able to quickly say yes to civil marriage for gays and lesbians? Will Republicans flog the gay rights issue in the lead-up to November, when the entire house and much of the senate will stand for reelection? Will Governor Christine Gregoire, who backed the civil rights bill and says she is eager to sign it into law on Tuesday, be similarly eager to back gay marriage? And will Tim Eyman succeed in his "Let the Voters Decide" effort to repeal the new gay civil rights law via a statewide vote?As Sanders points out, the last option isn't likely (I don't think Eyman has ever made a public statement on the issue), since 60% of Washington voters back gay rights--a complete turnaround since 1997, back when Initiative 677 failed.
I think back to early 1997, when I was a college freshman writing a Comp 101 paper on why "gay Christian" was an absolute contradiction, homosexuality being unique among sins at tarnishing a soul beyond God's recognition. Yet nine years and many life experiences later, and largely due to time spent and meals shared with an openly lesbian mentor teacher, every trace of anti-gay bigotry has been cleansed from my system. For many Washingtonians, I'd suspect the transformation worked the same way. It's easy to be prejudiced against an unknown Other. But when you know someone gay... it no longer makes sense.
This victory belongs to all those brave men and women who came out of the closet, enduring their family's ostracism, their friends' awkward silences, their coworkers' teasing. To those who worked tirelessly in the legislature to build friendships and erode the distrust built up by ignorance. To Cal Anderson, who never saw the fruits of his labors, and to Ed Murray, who did.