[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 discrimination based on sexual orientation 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.