WA Legislature poised to approve gay marriage

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The Legislature is set to approve a measure that would legalize gay marriage in Washington state.

The House is expected to begin debate on the bill at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The measure passed the Senate last week on a 28-21 vote, and it is expected to easily pass in the House. Once passed by the Legislature, Gov. Chris Gregoire is likely to sign the bill into law next week.

Because there is no emergency clause on the bill, the law wouldn't take effect for 90 days. Opponents have already promised a referendum battle at the ballot, so it's likely it could be put on hold pending the outcome of a November election. If opponents are unable to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, couples could marry starting in June.