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Washington gay civil rights law takes effect

[JURIST] Washington's gay civil rights act [HB 2661 text, PDF] took effect on Wednesday, after opponents of the legislation failed to collect enough signatures to put the bill before voters. The law rewrites Washington's Civil Rights Act to include the phrase "sexual orientation" among the classes of people protected from housing discrimination, lending, and employment. Opponents of the bill failed to collect the 112,440 signatures required by Wednesday to place Referendum 65 [advocacy website] on the November ballot, which would have asked voters whether the anti-discrimination law should be thrown out.

The civil rights act overhaul was signed by the governor [JURIST report] after it was approved by the House and Senate [JURIST report] in January. Washington is now the 17th state in the nation with an anti-discrimination law that covers sexual orientation. AP has more.

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