OLYMPIA, Washington, February 2, 2012 ( – A bill to legalize same-sex “marriage” has passed the Washington state Senate, paving the way for passage in the House of Representatives as early as next week.

SB 6239 passed the upper chamber 28-21 on Wednesday night, days after gaining the approval of a Senate committee on a party-line vote. In the full vote, four Republicans crossed party lines to support the bill, while three Democrats voted against.

The measure is expected to pass the House, and has already won the support of Democrat governor Christine Gregoire, making it likely that Washington will soon become the sixth state to recognize the new definition of marriage.

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Earlier last month, Gregoire, now in her final year in office after choosing not to run for a third term, announced that she would introduce the bill after several years of opposing the marriage redefinition.

“I’m sorry that it took me as long as it did. But it’s genuine. It’s not about politics. It’s very heartfelt. It’s about my [Catholic] faith and I have struggled with it,” she said.

In 2009, Washington state passed an “everything but marriage” domestic partner bill that granted homosexual relationships seeking partnership status with marriage benefits.