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May 9, 2012 at 3:57 PM

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All 6 Wash. congressional Democrats favor repeal of gay-marriage ban

Updated at 4:20 p.m. with response from Norm Dicks's office:

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's belated if unequivocal support for gay marriges puts him on the same side as all six congressional Democrats from Washington state.

The sixth Democrat, Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton, voted for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)that defined marriage as between a woman and a man. Since then, he has strongly backed gay-rights issues, including voting against an amendment last year that would have barred military chaplains from marrying same-sex couples.

George Behan, spokesman for Dicks, said Wednesday Dicks plans to sign on as co-sponsor of Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA that he voted for. The other Democrats, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Reps. Jim McDermott of Seattle, Rick Larsen of Lake Stevens and Adam Smith of Tacoma, already are co-sponsors of the repeal bill.

Behan said Dicks also supports same-sex marriage. Democrat Jay Inslee, who resigned earlier this year to run for governor, strongly endorses making gay marriages legal. Washington will gain a 10th House seat next year.

In statements, Larsen and McDermott hailed Obama's announcement.

“I am proud to be from Washington, which has helped lead the way in extending marriage rights for all. I look forward to the day when every American is able to marry the person that they love," Larsen said.

McDermott: "Without question his words today will shape the course of equality for generations to come. I am proud of the President for his courage in taking this historic step on the path of justice and equal rights."

The four Republican House members from Washington oppose same-sex marriages. Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn, like most of his Republican colleagues, favors a constitutional ban on gay marriages.

Through his spokeswoman, Natasha Mayer, Reichert said, "I think that we all deserve to be treated equally, but my beliefs and background do not allow me to endorse a marriage other than a marriage that exists between a man and a woman.”


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