Yay!!! Don’t exhale yet, though. The bill appears likely to pass, but homophobic groups plan to put the issue to a referendum.

If it passes, gay and lesbian couples in Washington could get married starting in June. But a successful referendum drive would prevent the bill from becoming law until voters decided the issue in November.

There would be no window of opportunity for gay marriages before the election, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The Senate measure is expected to be voted out of committee by Thursday, but it’s unclear when it would go to a floor vote.

It’s … unclear which group, or coalition of organizations, may take the lead on a referendum challenge.

But the Seattle Times does mention the Family Policy Institute of Washington as being a potential referendum pusher. Such referenda have not historically gone in favor of LGBT rights, although each year seems to see a few more in-favor percentage points in polls, so the tide may turn soon.

Of course, as many people have pointed out, putting civil rights up to popular vote is a problematic notion.