OLYMPIA, Wash.-- The Senate has voted to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state Wednesday.
The Senate passed the bill on vote of 28-21. Four Republicans crossed party lines and voted with majority Democrats for the measure. Three Democrats voted against it.
The measure now moves to the House, which also has enough votes to pass the bill. Governor Chris Gregoire has said she will sign the bill if it gets to her desk.
"Marriage is how society says you are a family," said State Senator Ed Murray (D-Seattle).
The openly gay senator sponsored the bill to legalize gay marriage and Wednesday made a passionate plea to pass it.
"We seek, like you, the chance to live our lives, to experience joy, to care for our families," said Murray.
The bill survived several amendments and objections from some Republicans who urged a statewide vote on the issue.
"This legislation will create a hostile environment for those that believe in traditional marriage," said State Senator Dan Swecker (R-Rochester).
A few Republican senators did cross over the aisle including Maple Valley Republican Cheryl Pflug.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have already promised a referendum battle if the bill is signed into law.
Any challenge to the bill can't be filed until after it is passed by the full Legislature and signed into law by Gregoire. Opponents then must turn in 120,577 signatures by June 6.
If opponents aren't able to collect enough signatures, gay and lesbian couples would be able to be wed starting in June.
KING 5's Chris Daniels and the Associated Press also contributed to this report.