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Stage set Stage set for final passage of gay marriage bill this week

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A House committee approved a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state, setting the stage for final passage this week.

The House Judiciary committee advanced the measure on a 7-5 vote Monday after a public hearing. The bill could be up for a vote on the House floor as early as Wednesday. The full Senate passed the measure on a 28-21 vote last Wednesday. Once passed by the House, the bill goes to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her signature.

Opponents have promised a referendum challenge at the ballot.

Washington state has had a domestic partnership law since 2007, and an "everything but marriage" expansion of that law since 2009.

Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

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