A Washington gay civil rights law takes effect Wednesday, a day after foes of the measure failed to submit enough voter signatures to force a public vote this fall.
The measure adds “sexual orientation” to a state law that bans discrimination in insurance, housing, employment and credit. It makes Washington the 17th state with laws protecting gays and lesbians, and the seventh to protect transgender people.
Gay rights supporters said discrimination will not end with this new law.
“But it sends a very strong message that discrimination against gay people is wrong and illegal” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C. “And it sends a strong message to potential victims that you don’t have to take it anymore.”
Opponents of the law argue that it gives gays and lesbians preferential treatment, encourages quotas, and could lead to same-sex marriage — an issue the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on any week now.
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