Gay marriage gaining momentum in WA Legislature

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The last time same-sex marriage was debated in the Washington state Legislature, lawmakers voted to ban it. Fourteen years later, the issue is before the Legislature once again and this time Washington could become the 7th state plus the District of Columbia to approve gay marriage rights.

Bills to legalize same-sex marriage have been introduced in the House and Senate and both have public hearings on Monday. They are sponsored by two gay lawmakers who have pushed for gay rights measures in past years.

While gay marriage bills have been introduced in Washington state before, this is the first time the issue will receive a public hearing.

Washington state has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and a so-called "everything but marriage" law since 2009.