Skip to main content

Originally published February 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM | Page modified February 13, 2012 at 9:58 PM

  • Share:
  • Comments (1)
  • Print

The road to same-sex marriage in Washington

The road to gay marriage in Washington state.

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
the barn door opens for all protected classes the stampede begins MORE


September 1971: Paul Barwick and John Singer walk into King County Auditor's Office and request a marriage license. They are turned down by Auditor Lloyd Hara.

August 1972: Barwick and Singer sue Hara, claiming denial of a marriage license violates their constitutional rights. A King County Superior Court judge rejects Barwick and Singer's claims of discrimination, and the state Court of Appeals upholds the ruling.

February 1998: The Legislature passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a state statute prohibiting same-sex marriage.

March 2004: Eight gay and lesbian couples sue King County over right to marry.

April 2004: Eleven gay and lesbian couples sue state over right to marry.

August 2004: King County Superior Court Judge William Downing Downing rules that denying gays the right to marry amounts to a denial of due process, finds DOMA unconstitutional.

September 2004: Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks rules gays are part of "protected class" and may not be denied same right granted others; he finds DOMA unconstitutional.

March 2005: The two cases are merged and argued before state Supreme Court.

February 2006: Gov. Chris Gregoire signs gay-rights bill into law. The legislation adds the words "sexual orientation" to existing law that prohibits discrimination on basis of race, age, gender, disability, religion and marital status.

July 2006: State Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, rejects rights of gay couples to marry and upholds DOMA.

April 2007: Gregoire signs bill creating same-sex domestic partnerships. Law also applies to heterosexual couples 62 and older.

March 2008: Gregoire signs a bill expanding 2007 domestic-partnership law.

May 2009: Gregoire signs "everything but marriage" bill, granting domestic partners all state-provided benefits that married couples have. Opponents launch referendum drive seeking to overturn law.

November 2009: Referendum 71, which would repeal "everything but marriage" law, fails at ballot; Washington becomes first state where voters approve rights of same-sex partners.

January 2012: Gregoire, saying "I have been on my own journey," announces her support of same-sex marriage legislation.

February 2012: Legislature passes bill to legalize same-sex marriage, and Gregoire signs it into law.

Compiled by Seattle Times news researcher Gene Balk

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon



Celebrate that amazing NFC win with a poster or tee shirt featuring The Seattle Times Jan. 19 front page. Order now!



Special report

Ocean acidification threatens to scramble marine life on a scale almost too big to fathom.

Ocean acidification threatens to scramble marine life on an unfathomable scale

Check out:

We've got ideas for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and beyond!

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

You are what you wear: Package yourself for career success


Enjoy the best of our region's Food & Wine