***One-and-a-Half Steps Forward for Marriage Equality

Washington became the seventh state (plus the District of Columbia) to legalize same-sex marriage today, as Gov. Christine Gregoire signed legislation enacted last week. It won’t take effect, however, until June, and opponents are trying to get an initiative on the November ballot to reverse it (and if so, could succeed in obtaining a judicial order delaying implementation of the law pending the vote).

Also today, the New Jersey Senate approved a marriage equality bill, already passed by the legislature’s lower house, that would make it the eighth state on board. But Gov. Chris Christie has promised a veto.

Deliberately or not, Christie’s stand against marriage equality will burnish his credentials for securing the second spot on the national GOP ticket this summer, assuming Marco Rubio doesn’t want it or is somehow passed over. And coincidentally or not, the current front-runner in GOP presidential polls, Rick Santorum, was in Olympia campaigning (Washington is holding its delegate election caucus on March 3) even as Gregoire penned the historic legislation, and announced plans to meet with same-sex marriage opponents while he was in town.

There’s one trend in the country, another altogether in the Republican Party.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.