A measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state was approved Monday by a House committee, and the Senate is expected to vote on its companion bill within days.
Sen. Ed Murray, a Seattle Democrat who is sponsoring one of the bills, said Monday that he expects a floor vote on gay marriage in the Senate on Wednesday. A Senate committee voted to approve Murray's bill Friday.
The House Judiciary committee approved its companion gay marriage bill on Monday on a 7-6 party line vote.
Three Republican amendments were rejected, including on one that would have added private businesses and individuals, such as bakers and photographers, to the religious exemption in the bill that doesn't require religious organizations or churches to perform marriages, and doesn't subject them to penalties if they don't marry gay or lesbian couples.
Opponents of same-sex marriage have already promised a referendum battle at the ballot if the Legislature passes the bill and it's signed into law.