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Washington state will vote on gay marriage

Sponsors gather more than double the required number of signatures to get repeal on November ballot

Voters in Washington state will decide in November whether or not to uphold marriage equality in their state, just nine months after it was signed into law by Gov. Christine Gregoire.

The Secretary of State's office in Washington has confirmed that Referendum 74 will be on the ballot because its sponsors have turned in 247,331 signatures,  far more than the minimum of 120,577 valid signatures required from registered Washington voters.

This means that marriage equality votes will now be taking place in four US states in November including Maryland, Minnesota and Maine.

Gregoire signed a marriage equality bill into law on Feb. 13. She had introduced the bill a month earlier and it was passed by both houses of the state legislature.

The governor had said during a signing ceremony at the state capitol: 'It is the right step. We have finally said yes to marriage equality. The sky-will-fall rhetoric is simply not true.'

The governor had previously been in favor of legal rights for same-sex couples but she had never before publicly endorsed gay marriage until announcing in early January that she would be introducing a same-sex marriage bill to the state legislature.

Washington already has a series of LGBT equality laws already on the books. In 2006, a law was passed that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, lending and insurance.

In a series of laws passed after that, the rights of same-sex couples were expanded culminating the so-called 'everything but marriage law' passed in 2009.

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