Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill Monday legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, Reuters reports.
The legislation makes Washington the seventh state (along with the District of Colombia) to legalize same-sex matrimony and was met with celebration in Seattle and Olympia. Upon signing the bill, Gregoire called the day "a proud moment" for Washington.
The law will not take effect until summer because of a standard enactment period, and opponents of gay marriage are already priming repeal efforts, chiefly an attempt to add a ballot measure to general elections in November.
Marriage is society's way of bringing men and women together so that children can be raised by, and cared for by, their mother and father," Joseph Backholm, head of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, told Reuters.
"It is the most-important, child-focused institution of society, and we will fight to preserve it. Voters will have the opportunity to define marriage in our state."
Nonetheless, the new legislation represents a great victory for same-sex marriage supporters. According to the Seattle Times, the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle erupted into loud cheers, a standing ovation, and song once the law was signed.
"We (the church) believe God's love transcends all human distinctions," The Rev. Brigetta Remole told congregants. "I'd be honored to officiate at your wedding."