Wash. has enough votes to legalize gay marriage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wash. has enough votes to legalize gay marriage

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington's Legislature now has enough votes to legalize gay marriage. Democratic Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen says she will support the measure, becoming the 25th vote needed to pass the bill out of the Senate. The House already has enough support, and Gov. Chris Gregoire has endorsed the plan.
Washington would become the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriages, following New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.  
Washington state has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and a "everything but marriage" law since 2009.  
Haugen's announcement came has hundreds of people filled the capitol to advocate for and against gay marriage. State senators began considering the bill during a morning committee hearing.
Mark Lee, the executive director of the Vista Youth Center in Kennewick, an organization that helps lesbian, gay, and transgender young people deal with  difficulties says this is a necessity.  
"When you look at the evidence of high suicide rates, depression and all the things that youth are dealing with, I think marriage is a piece that will really give them evidence that says, you are like everybody else, you can dream to one day be married," says Lee.
Governor Gregoire already said she would back the bill, but opponents are expected take steps to reverse it.