Chris Gregoire, Washington Governor, Announces Support For Gay Marriage Bill

Governor Takes Stand On Gay Marriage

SEATTLE--Washington governor Chris Gregoire announced her support for gay marriage legislation on Wednesday, potentially putting the state on track to become the nation's seventh to fully recognize same-sex unions.

Democrat Gregoire, in the final year of her second term, is backing legislation to be introduced before the Washington state legislature, which reconvenes next week.

"It is time in Washington state for marriage equality," said Gregoire at a media conference in the state capital of Olympia. "It is time, it's the right thing to do."

Six U.S. states currently allow same-sex marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa. Gay marriage is also legal in the District of Columbia.

Although Democrats hold majorities in both Washington state's chambers, a bill is not certain to pass, as some conservative Democrats have sided with Republicans on the issue.

Gregoire's move comes a month after she joined forces with Rhode island's governor to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to allow doctors to legally prescribe marijuana as a medical treatment.

The 64-year old governor, who has held the office since 2004, said in June that she will not run for a third term in November elections.

(Reporting by Laura Myers; Writing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Greg McCune)

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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