Several influential Eastern Washington legislators have sounded off on the gay marriage bill.

These are their official statements.

Sen. Jim Honeyfor, R-Sunnyside:

“I am disappointed that a majority of the Senate voted to abandon the traditional definition of marriage and concern about religious freedoms that are being threatened by this legislation... This issue should be decided by the people of our state."

Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley:

"Marriage has always been understood to be a comprehensive relationship between a man and woman, as husband and wife, grounded in their complementary nature and their ability to naturally conceive and give birth to children, and serve as father and mother."

Sen. Jenea Holmquist-Newbury, R-Moses Lake:

“I am worried about the religious liberties and free conscience of those who support traditional marriage... Individuals in domestic partnerships represent two-tenths of one percent of the state’s population, yet the Senate tonight ignored the remaining 99 percent of us... What we witnessed tonight is not the bestowal of civil rights, but the exercise of political power.”

Sen. Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla:

Although we were able to amend the bill to at least provide minimal protections for some religious organizations, private employers that wish not to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies are still left wide open to lawsuits. It concerns me very much that the Legislature is poised to pass a measure that could force citizens to spend thousands of dollars to protect their religious rights. I also believe the bill as it left the Senate should have included a referendum clause and be put before voters in the fall. I have heard from so many constituents who want the opportunity to weigh in on it. The Legislature should have expressly given them that chance."

All of these legislators voted 'No' in the Senate roll call. Opponents of the bill now say they will attempt to bring a referendum before the voters to allow them to decide the measure. This issue is fast becoming THE hot button topic of the legislature.

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