Washington state Senator Mary Margaret
Haugen on Monday announced her support for making the state the
seventh to legalize gay marriage, giving supporters sufficient votes
to approve the measure, the AP reported.
Haugen released a statement after a
Senate committee held the first public hearing on the legislation.
Haugen said she had wrestled with the
“For me personally, I have always
believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is
what I believe, to this day,” she said.
“But this issue isn't about just what
I believe. It's about respecting others, including people who may
believe differently than I. It's about whether everyone has the same
opportunies for love and companionship and family and security that I
She added that she was aware that she
was casting the deciding vote.
“I know this announcement makes me the
so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage.
That's neither here nor there. If I were the first or the seventh or
the 28th vote, my position would not be any different.”
“This is the right vote and it is the
vote I will cast when this measure comes to the floor,” she added.
With his partner Michael Shiosaki by
his side, Democratic Senator Ed Murray, the chief sponsor of the bill
in the Senate, testified before the Government Operations, Tribal
Relations & Elections Committee, saying that he had “waited 17
years to ask this body to consider marriage equality for gay and
“I realize the issue of marriage for
our families is emotional and divisive,” he said. “It touches
what each of us holds most dear, our families.”
Opponents of the legislation handed out
buttons that said “Marriage: One Man One Woman” outside the