Government and Politics

Political news

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will convene in Special Session this Friday. Governor John Kitzhaber announced Monday that the session is urgently needed to facilitate a major expansion of Oregon-based Nike.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington is currently a Democratic one party rule state. But that could change this week. A possible challenge to the Democrats' tenuous control of the Washington state senate could emerge. Senate Republicans have called a news conference Monday morning at the Capitol. A bipartisan group of senators is expected make an announcement regarding the leadership of the state’s upper chamber. All it would take is two Democratic senators to join with Republicans to create a philosophical majority.

Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington’s newly elected governor, attorney general and secretary of state are busy hiring staff, announcing transition teams and setting up shop in the Capitol. But newly elected Washington state Auditor Troy Kelley hasn’t been seen much.

Kelley is a Democratic State Representative who was elected to replace outgoing auditor Brian Sonntag who’s held the office for 20 years. Sonntag says he met Kelley for coffee after the election.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Supporters of same-sex marriage in the Northwest are at once celebrating and downplaying the latest news from the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court announced Friday that it would review a ban on same-sex marriage in California, as well as a federal law that prohibits gays and lesbians from receiving federal spousal benefits.

Sasha Buchert with Basic Rights Oregon says it's not clear what a Supreme Court ruling would mean for the ban on same-sex marriage approved by Oregon voters in 2004.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. and KENNEWICK, Wash. – In Washington’s capital city, the county auditor was also prepared for a rush of marriage-license applicants. Instead, it felt like business as usual. Just one couple got showed up.

Deborah Dulaney and Diane McGee dressed warmly and brought an umbrella. They figured they’d be waiting out in the rain to get a wedding license on day one.

“Then we just walk right in," Diane says. "It was nice, but I’m kind of disappointed. I wanted to party.”

Austin Jenkins

OLYMPIA, Wash. – On the eve of same-sex marriage taking effect in Washington, Governor Chris Gregoire hosted an emotional ceremony in her office. Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the results of the vote to uphold Washington’s new marriage equality law.

Voters in Washington, Maryland and Maine all said yes last month to allowing same-sex marriage. But Washington’s law goes into effect first. Governor Gregoire noted the historic significance of gaining voter approval as she prepared to sign a formal proclamation.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Northwest agriculture advocates are more optimistic Congress will take up the issue of immigration after a forum this week in Washington, D.C. The effort is getting support from a surprising mix of organizations.

Many same-sex couples in Washington were planning to get married whether or not the state sanctioned their union. That includes Spike Huntington and Nick Chandler-Klein of Seattle, who are planning a wedding next summer. Spike’s mother, Susan Huntington, is planning to make the trip to Seattle from Newport, Oregon for the ceremony.

"I was just thinking about what this passage of the same-sex marriage law in Washington is going to mean to our family event," Susan says. "Do you think it's going to make any difference?"

Photo courtesy of Sonja Yearsley

RICHLAND, Wash. – This week, many same-sex couples in Washington will line up to get marriage licenses beginning Thursday at 12:01 a.m. In southeast Washington, two brides were planning their wedding ceremony for the weekend after Election Day, just as Washington voters were deciding whether legally sanction their union. Anna King spoke to Sara Belchik-Moser about her wife Annie.

“Six years ago, we actually met in a bar for the first time. And I didn’t like her. She’s a blue-eyed blonde and I never thought I’d be attracted to the ideal woman of the blue-eyed blonde.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Reverend Todd Eklof made a vow in 2004 -- the year 11 states, including Oregon and Kentucky -- passed constitutional amendments against gay marriage. He stopped performing any marriages. But starting Dec. 9 same-sex couples can get married legally in Washington. And that day will also marks a turning point for the Spokane minister. Eklof discussed his vow with Northwest News Network's Jessica Robinson.

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