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Washington Senate approves gay civil rights bill

[JURIST] The Washington State Senate [official website] on Friday passed a landmark gay civil rights bill [HB 2661 text, PDF; additional materials] that would ban based on in housing, lending and employment. The legislation was approved by the House [Post-Intelligencer report] last week, but was amended in the Senate and must go back to the House for final approval, which is expected later Friday. Gov. Christine Gregoire [official website] has indicated that she will sign the legislation. Supporters of the measure have been trying to get a version of the bill passed for almost 30 years. Opponents say that the bill is unnecessary and could lead to same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. Approval of the legislation would make Washington the 17th state in the nation with an anti-discrimination law that covers sexual orientation. The Seattle Times has more.

5:40 PM ET - The Washington House has now approved the amended Senate version of the bill - adding that the legislature does not endorse homosexuality and that the law does not supersede state law on marriage - and has sent the measure to the Governor for signature, expected next Tuesday. AP has more.

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