Washington state lawmakers pass gay marriage bill

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- The Washington state Legislature has voted to legalize gay marriage, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The action comes a day after a federal appeals court declared California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

The Washington state House passed the measure on a xx-xx vote Wednesday after xxx hours of debate. The state Senate approved the proposal last week.

Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire is expected to sign the bill next week, and it would take effect 90 days later. But opponents have promised a challenge, which could put the law on hold pending the result of a November vote.

Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C.