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Washington state passes gay civil rights bill

A gay civil rights measure passed the Washington state Senate on Friday after failing for nearly 30 years to get through the Legislature.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A gay civil rights measure passed the state Senate on Friday, a major victory for gay rights activists who have watched the measure fail in the Legislature for nearly 30 years.

The bill passed on a 25-23 vote, with a lone Republican joining majority Democrats.

The measure adds “sexual orientation” to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance. Sixteen states have passed similar laws for gays and lesbians; six of those states have passed laws for transgendered people.

Two Senate Democrats voted against the measure.

Because the bill was amended this week in the Senate, it now goes back to the House, which has said it would agree with the changes. It could be on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s desk by the end of the day, and the Democratic governor is expected to sign it into law.

The measure passed the House last week on a 60-37 vote, with six Republicans joining 54 Democrats in supporting the bill.