OLYMPIA, Washington. (AP) — El gobernador Chris Gregoire promulgó el miércoles una certificación de la ley que permite los matrimonios del mismo sexo en el estado de Washington, con lo que se unió a otros estados que permiten las bodas entre homosexuales.

Gregoire y el secretario de gobierno del estado Sam Reed certificaron el referendo 74 aprobado en las elecciones, rodeados de las diez primeras parejas gay que contraerán matrimonio.

La ley entra en vigencia el jueves, día en que las parejas de homosexuales y lesbianas comenzarán a solicitar certificados de matrimonio y las licencias en las oficinas de los auditores del condado.

El condado de King, el más extenso del estado y sede de Seattle, y el condado de Thurston, donde está situada Olympia, la capital del estado de Washington, estaban por abrir en el primer minuto del jueves a fin de expedir certificados de matrimonio.

LEE LOS COMENTARIOS A ESTA NOTA Y AGREGA EL TUYO


En vista de que el estado tiene un período de espera de tres días, las primeras bodas comenzarán a realizarse el domingo.


"Este es un día muy importante e histórico en el gran estado de Washington", dijo Gregoire antes de firmar la iniciativa. "Durante muchos años hemos dicho 'paso a paso'. Este es nuestro último paso para la igualdad matrimonial en el estado de Washington".


En las elecciones de noviembre, Washington, Maine y Maryland fueron los primeros estados en aprobar referendos por voto popular. Se unieron a otros seis estados, Nueva York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nueva Hampshire, Vermont y el Distrito de Columbia, que ya había suscrito leyes o por fallos de tribunales que permiten las bodas gay.


El referendo 74 en el estado de Washington había pedido a los votantes que aprobaran o rechazaran una ley estatal que legalizaba las bodas del mismo sexo que los legisladores habían aprobado a principios de año. La ley fue firmada por Gregoire en febrero pero quedó pendiente a la espera de los resultados de las elecciones. Casi un 54% de los votantes aprobaron la medida.


La ley no obliga a las organizaciones religiosas ni a las iglesias que celebren matrimonios y no impone multas a las iglesias que se nieguen a casar parejas homosexuales.


La nueva ley de Maryland entrará en vigencia el 1 de enero pero las parejas puedes solicitar licencias matrimoniales el jueves siempre y cuando la fecha efectiva sea 1 de enero. Mientras tanto la ley de bodas gay entra en vigencia el 29 de diciembre.


El estado de Washington tiene una ley de convivencia legal desde el 2007. Actualmente existen 10.000 parejas legalizadas bajo este acuerdo.


___


Rachel La Corte está en Twitter como http://www.twitter.com/RachelAPOly o en http://www.facebook.com/news.rachel .


Los periodistas de AP, Brian Witte de Annapolis, Maryland y Clarke Canfield en Portland, Maine contribuyeron para este despacho.

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