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State Senate passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage

The Washington state Senate passed a bill today that would legalize same-sex marriage.

If the measure is approved by the House, it will be the seventh state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Gov. Chris Gregoire supports the measure and has said she will sign it into law, though opponents have promised to challenge it at the ballot with a referendum.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, also backs the measure.

“Marriage is more than just a collection of rights and protections – it is the commitment between two people who love each other and have pledged to support one another in life,” said Ranker in a released statement.

The measure was passed on a 28-21 vote.

Any challenge to the bill can't be filed until after it is passed by the full Legislature and signed into law by Gregoire. Opponents then must turn in 120,577 signatures by June 6.

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