The 22nd Governor of the state of Washington, Christine Gregoire, is set to announce her support today for legislation which would introduce marriage equality for gay couples in the state, according to reports.

Reuters reports that an announcement Gregoire is scheduled to give today will be used to voice her support for the new laws, according to a source informed of her decision.

The announcement would come ahead of the start of the Washington state legislature’s new session, at which some Democrats have said they will introduce marriage equality legislation.

In 2009, the state of Washington introduced an “everything-but-marriage” law for its gay citizens in partnerships, supported by a 53% to 47% vote in a public referendum.

That referendum was reported to be the first time the people of a state had voted to expand the rights of citizens in gay relationships.

It gave gays in domestic partnerships the right to use sick leave to care for a partner and rights related to adoption, child custody and child support, as well as new inheritance rights.

In April 2011, Governor Gregoire, a Democrat, signed into law a bill which meant legal out-of-state same-sex marriages now carry the force as domestic partnerships in Washington.

Currently, six of the 50 states, and Washington DC, perform gay marriages. The Suquamish Indian tribe, which is located in Washington state, recognises gay marriage.