Beautiful news to end your day. Washington's Democratic-controlled legislature now has enough votes to legalize marriage equality.
As legislators held their first public hearings on the issue, a previously undecided Democratic senator announced her support. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen's would cast the deciding 25th vote—and Washington is poised to become the seventh state to allow gay and lesbian couples to get married.
"I’ve had hundreds of very heartfelt, sincere letters," Haugen told KING 5 News. "I’ve had letters that are threatening and other letters that aren’t so pleasant, but I’m Christian, and I don’t believe it’s my right to judge other people. I really try to live by the Golden Rule, and I believe I’m following my faith at this point. It’s the right thing to do."
In her statement, Haugen adds:
To some degree, this is generational. Years ago I took exception to my parents' beliefs on certain social issues, and today my children take exception to some of mine. Times change, even if it makes us uncomfortable. I think we should all be uncomfortable sometime. None of us knows everything, and it's important to have our beliefs questioned. Only one being in this world is omniscient, and it's not me. ...
Not everyone will agree with my position. I understand and respect that. I also trust that people will remember that we need to respect each other's beliefs. All of us enjoy the benefits of being Americans, but none of us holds a monopoly on what it means to be an American. Ours is truly a big tent, and while the tent may grow and shrink according to the political winds of the day, it should never shrink when it comes to our rights as individuals.
Read the eloquent statement AFTER THE JUMP ....
"The state House is widely expected to have enough support to pass gay marriage, and Gov. Chris Gregoire publicly endorsed the proposal earlier this month," adds the AP. "If a marriage bill is passed during this legislative session, gay and lesbian couples will be able to get married starting in June unless opponents file a referendum to challenge it. Opponents have already said they will."
Washington has recognized valid out-of-state same-sex marriages since March 2011. The state has recognized domestic partnerships since 2007 and an "everything but marriage" law since 2009. The Evergreen State would become the nation's seventh state to legalize marriage equality and would join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia.
Read Sen. Haugen's statement AFTER THE JUMP ...