The same-sex marriage bill passed by the Washington State Senate last week and likely to be ratified by the State House this week is an impressive contribution to the American tradition of honoring individual freedom.

Introduced at the behest of Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, the extension of marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples will make Washington the seventh state to formally recognize that sexual orientation should not be a bar to the family stability offered by legally sanctioned weddings. It received bipartisan support in the Senate, though more Republicans than Democrats opposed it.